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MOSCOW, August 1 (Itar-Tass) — Alexei Taratukhin - a lawyer for the plaintiffs at the Pussy Riot trial continuing at Moscow Khamovnichesky District Court, has challenged the judge, Marina Syrova, accusing the judge of having "a personal interest."
"On July 31 I saw lawyer (for the Pussy Riot band) Violetta Volkova come into the courtroom, followed by the judge, Marina Syrova, which in my opinion, speaks of "special relations" between the lawyer and the judge," Taratukhin declared on Wednesday. "The judge has dropped its objectivity," the lawyer said.
For her part, Violetta Volkova, who represents the interests of the Pussy Riot band, said that on July 31 she saw lawyer Taratukhin engaged in a confidential conversation with the judge. "The law does not envisage any confidential conversations between any of the conflicting sides with the judge," Volkova explained. She said she came to the judge because she needed a certificate confirming that she was busy at the court hearings. Lawyer Taratukhin also said that he came to the judge to take a similar certificate.
Yelena Pavlova- another lawyer for the injured party, accused Pussy Riot's lawyers of staging incessant provocations. " I do not trust the court which can neither stop provocations nor ensure order at the court hearings, " Pavlova said.
The prosecutors have asked the judge to turn down the disqualification plea.
The three defendants from the Pussy Riot band - Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, 22; Maria Alyokhina, 24 and Yekaterina Samutsevich, 29 have been under arrest since March and face up to seven years in prison on charges of hooliganism motivated by religious hatred. The Pussy Riot band staged an outrageous performance at Christ the Savior Cathedral in February, which provoked a public outcry in Russia and abroad.