PENZA, September 12 (Itar-Tass) —— Jail term is overly tough a punishment to members of the scandalous punk group Pussy Riot, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said Wednesday
"I think a decision to continue keeping them in jail was counterproductive in this case," he said at a meeting with local activists of the ruling United Russia party in the city of Penza, some 700 km to the southeast of Moscow. "To my mind, a suspended term would be quite sufficient, considering the time they had already spent in the heavily constricted conditions in custody."
Medvedev also mentioned the emotional side of the problem around the punk group, whose female members held a so-called 'punk sermon' at Moscow's Cathedral of the Saovior at the end of February, jumping on the solace in front of the altar shouting obscenities.
"Frankly speaking -- and please forgive me for my off-parliament expressions -- it grates against my teeth to recall what they did and how they looked while doing it and what kind of a hysteria accompanies this situation," Medvedev said.
"I just feel sick mentioning all of this, and that's my personal perception of the whole thing," he said.
August 17, a district court in Moscow passed a guilty verdict on three young women who had taken part in the outrageous action.
Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Maria Alyokhina, and Yekaterina Samutsevich were found guilty of hooliganism motivated by religious strife and hatred and sentenced to two years in a general penal colony.