MOSCOW, November 20 (Itar-Tass) — Moscow's Zamoskvorechye court on Tuesday began preliminary hearings over the statement by city prosecutors demanding that the video of the notorious Pussy Riot punk prayer in the Christ the Savior Church be recognized as extremist.
In the course of the Tuesday hearing, the court refused to recognize Yekaterina Samutsevich, a Pussy Riot activist, "an interested person" in the case. After hearing the parties' arguments, judge Marina Musimovich said there were no grounds to meet Samutsevich's petition.
In her statement, the Pussy Riot activist claimed that if the court recognized the video as extremist she could face criminal prosecution under penal code Article 282 /"inciting hate or strife"/, because investigators regarded her as one of the video producers. In her opinion, the court's refusal to acknowledge that she was an interested person violated her rights.
Answering the judge's question, Samutsevich explained that she had nothing to do with the making or placing the video on the Internet.
The prosecutor objected to holding Samutsevich responsible as an interested person. He said according to police, "the involvement of Yekaterina Samutsevich, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina in making and placing the video titled "Mother of God, Drive Putin Away" on the Internet has not been ascertained."
The prosecutor also said the court's refusal to grant Samutsevich's petition would not violate her rights or interests, as the verdict by the Khamovniki court which had found her guilty of hooliganism for the punk prayer, had already come into effect.
The court will examine the video for extremist content at 11:45, Moscow time, on November 29.
After the Tuesday session, Samutsevich stated that she would appeal the ruling within 15 days. If the video is recognized as extremist, she would challenge the ruling, as "the video needs to be defended," Samutsevich said.
On August 17, Moscow's Khamovniki court found three Pussy Riot members - Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Maria Alyokhina and Yekaterina Samutsevich - guilty of hooliganism motivated by religious hate and strife for their action in the Church. Each was sentenced to two years in a general regime penitentiary. The court said the defendants' action was not politically motivated although the young women had claimed to the contrary.
On October 10, the Moscow City Court softened the punishment for Samutsevich by giving her a suspended sentence. If left the sentences for her two colleagues unchanged.