MOSCOW, August 17 (Itar-Tass) - The Khamovniki district court has found members of the Pussy Riot punk group guilty of hooliganism at the Cathedral of Christ the Savior in Moscow. Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Maria Alyokhina and Yekaterina Samutsevich were found guilty of hooliganism on motives of religious hatred and hostility, Judge Marina Syrova said on Friday.
"Tolokonnikova, Alyokhina and Samutsevich committed an act of hooliganism, i.e. gross violation of public order, expressing clear disrespect to society on motives of religious hatred and hostility towards a social group on the part of a group of persons, acting on previous concert, in the form of provocative and insulting actions in a religious institution that attracted the attention of a huge number of believers,” court ruling says.
The court ruled that “on February 21, Tolokonnikova, Samutsevich, Alyokhina and several unidentified persons in masks and inappropriately dressed appeared in the Cathedral of Christ the Savior, rose to the Ambon, approached the Altar and kept screaming out cursing words with the help of sound amplifying equipment for almost a minute. They insulted the believers who were present in the church, lifting hands and feet.
“On the whole, by their actions the defendants obviously and unambiguously expressed their religious hatred and hostility to Christianity. The defendants grossly violated public order, interrupted the normal functioning of the church, showed clear disrespect to the visitors and employees of the church, deeply insulted and humiliated Orthodox believers,” Marina Syrova said.
The action was deprived of any moral. The defendants encroached on the identity of most believers, opposed themselves to society and ignored the general rules of conduct in a church.
The court ruling says that Samutsevich took out her guitar from a case but was taken out of the church by a guard. Tolokonnikova switched on a microphone and turned on a phonogram whose content was blasphemous and insulting to the believers. She was also taken out by a guard.
Earlier, the prosecutor asked to find the defendants quilty on charges of hooliganism on motives of religious hatred and hostility and sentence each defendant to three years in a general regime penal colony.