20 Aug 2012

Punk band's prison sentences defended

4:04 pm on 20 August 2012

Russia has replied to international criticism of the prison sentences imposed on members of Pussy Riot, saying similar laws exist in other countries.

In an online statement, the Foreign Ministry said that laws similar to those used to prosecute the punk band apply in Germany, according to the Ria Novosti news agency.

Three members of Pussy Riot were sentenced to two years in prison on Friday, after being found guilty of hooliganism and inciting religious hatred for performing at a cathedral in Moscow on 21 February.

The women said their protest was directed at the Russian Orthodox Church's support for Vladmir Putin, who was elected for a third term as president two weeks later.