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MOSCOW, August 1 (Itar-Tass) — Trial over members of the Pussy Riot female punk group will continue at the Khamovniki district court in Moscow on August 2. The group is being accused of hooliganism at the Cathedral of Christ the Savior on February 21.
The court questioned two witnesses on Wednesday. The first witness was Eteri Iovashvili, the treasurer of the Epiphany Cathedral in Yelokhovo (Moscow), who recalled that Pussy Riot had staged a similar prank in her church. She didn’t turn to police because she was unprepared for such incidents. The witness said that she had learnt about the incident in the Cathedral of Christ the Savior from news. She added that the actions in her church and in the country’ main cathedral looked very similar.
Oleg Ugrik, the first witness for the prosecution, said that the girls’ actions looked more like worship to the Devil rather than a prayer to the Mother of God.
The Pussy Riot trial has become notoriously famous for frequent clashes among the defendants’ lawyers, the judges, the aggrieved party and the state prosecution. Wednesday’s hearing was not an exception. The defendants appealed to postpone the hearing complaining of bad health. The girls called in an ambulance twice but the doctors who examined them concluded that they were fit to stand the trial.
Five young girls in masks and bright clothes appeared in the Cathedral of Christ the Savior on February 21, 2012. They rose to the Ambon and then approached the Altar. With the help of sound amplifying equipment which they had brought into the church, they sang an obscene song for several minutes and insulted the clergymen and the believers. They were ignoring remarks made by the church employees and the visitors and disappeared when the guards wanted to detain them. Later on, the Pussy Riot punk group, notoriously famous for staging similar actions in other places, including on Red Square, claimed responsibility for the punk-prayer.
The case produced great public response. Swords were crossed in the media and the Internet for more than three months over the way how to classify the act from the legal point of view: an act of hooliganism or an administrative offence. An administrative offence has light consequences while hooliganism is a crime which implies stricter punishment.