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MOSCOW, August 1 (Itar-Tass) — Moscow’s Khamovnichesky Court is beginning the interrogation of witnesses for the prosecution in the case of members of the Pussy Riot girls’ punk band who are charged with hooliganism in the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour. The father of defendant Yekaterina Samutsevich is expected to be one of the first to be questioned.
On Tuesday, Judge Marina Syrova finished questioning of the injured party. All the nine people have given testimony over two days. Each of them refused to put forward claims against the defendants and said that choice of punishment should be made by the court.
Also, all the complainants said that the actions of the girls inflicted considerable emotional suffering and insulted their feelings as Orthodox believers. Thus, alms collector Tatyana Anosova who also sells candles in the cathedral said that their actions “deeply insulted” her. “My soul hurts event now, I still often cry because of this,” she added. Anosova, as well as several other complainants, said that many people who were inside the cathedral then felt bad and asked for Valerian of Corvalol. Guard of the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour Sergei Beloglazov said that he “after that day for two months could not make himself go to work, come to the church.”
All the complainants have also shown that the actions of the girls for some time disturbed order in the church and its functioning.
Meanwhile, the testimony of the complainants still differed concerning the playing of music and songs in the cathedral. Some cathedral staff members said they heard nothing but “shouting, strange jerking and lips of the defendants in the holy place.” Also, almost nobody saw political motives in the incident, a version on which the defendants and their lawyers have so actively insisted.
In addition, all the complainants refused to accept the girls’ apologies. According to them, they are not yet ready for it. Moreover, the complainants victims do not believe in the sincerity of the defendants, especially in their repentance.
This trial is notable for frequent “clashes” between the defendants’ lawyers, the judge, complainants and public prosecution. The trial participants have been more and more frequently shouting and swearing at each other. In this connection, the defence lawyers have been repeatedly admonished some of notes of admonition were put on the record of the court meeting.
According to investigators, the defendants “have committed an act of hooliganism, that is a gross violation of public order, expressing a clear disrespect for the society, committed on the grounds of religious hatred and enmity and hate against a particular social group, by a group of persons by prior agreement in the form of provocative and offensive actions in a religious building, drawing attention of a wide range of believers.” By their actions they “wanted to provoke unrest among the faithful, to hurt their most cherished ideals and understanding of justice, good and evil; to make them unconsciously look for an opportunity of taking a response action: to create prerequisites for the activation of unfriendly actions of community groups who have given preference to other religious trends.”
In addition, Alekhina, Samutsevich, Tolokonnikova and unidentified persons have shown a clear disregard for the faithful visitors of the cathedral and the clergy who became unwitting witnesses of the aforementioned unlawful action, they deeply insulted and humiliated the feelings of believers and religious guidelines of Orthodox citizens.
On February 21, 2012, they, being in the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour, “causing considerable damage to the sacred values ··of Christianity, encroaching on the sacramental mystery of the church, not responding to calls of the candle woman to stop the sacrilege, illegally entered the fenced part of the cathedral, intended for sacred religious rites, by which blasphemously humiliated age-old foundations of the Russian Orthodox Church.”
“Wishing to inflict greater spiritual wounds on Orthodox Christians, the offenders, getting on a podium in front of the iconostasis in the sanctuary of the cathedral, standing in the special space reserved for the reading of the Scripture text, reciting religious prayers and sermons, took off their upper garments, remaining in clothes highly improper for this place,” the indictment says. “They also put on their faces masks of defiantly bright colours.”
After that Samutsevich uncovered an electric guitar, and Tolokonnikova switched on a soundtrack with a prepared in advance offensive and blasphemous song for the Orthodox faithful citizens.”
This case has caused a major public stir. The media and the Internet community are still arguing on how to qualify this act from the standpoint of the law: as an act of hooliganism or as an administrative offense.