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Judge presiding at Pussy Riot trial challenged fifth time

August 02, 2012, 14:44 UTC+3

The defendants claim that the judge grossly violates the law

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MOSCOW, August 2 (Itar-Tass) — A fifth disqualification plea has been filed on Thursday against judge of the Moscow Khamovnichesky district court Marina Syrova who is presiding at the trial of the Pussy Riot punk band.

The defendants claim that  the judge grossly violates the law, prohibiting appeals authorized to be filed at any stage of the court hearings, which is stipulated in the Code of Criminal Procedure. Besides, the judge violates the principle of arguments of the conflicting parties, the defendants said.

The judge's reluctance to create conditions to ensure the defendants' fully-fledged participation in the court proceedings, such as the judge's refusal to familiarize the defendants with the material evidence on the case, denying them an opportunity to have some rest and prepare for court hearings, speaks of the judge's biased position, said Maria Alyokhina, one of the three defendants on trial. Alyokhina also said the judge goes as far as criticizing a mental capacity and a degree of education of the defendants and their lawyers in a form which infringes on their human dignity. Alyokhina also reiterated that because of a tough schedule of the court proceedings the defendants do not have enough time to sleep and are unwell.

It was the fifth time that the judge, Marina Syrova, was challenged since the trial began on Monday. Mark Feigin -a lawyer for the defendants, said the lawyers intended to complain to a court of law of a conspiracy made by the judge and a lawyer for the injured party and will ask the court to clarify the situation in respect to a recorded video of the incident which the judged refused to demonstrate to the defendants.

"It is neither a matter of joke nor a rally, it is a matter of court proceedings when the court is obliged to act in the framework of the law," said lawyer for the defendants Yelena Pavlova. Commenting on the defendants' physical condition, Pavlova reminded of the fact that on Tuesday an ambulance was called to the court building twice, but after a medical examination ambulance doctor declared that the defendants have no symptoms for hospital treatment, Pavlova said.

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 on February 21, which provoked a public outcry in Russia and abroad.


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