Pussy Riot rally not a crime, says investigation
MOSCOW, April 26 - RAPSI. The expert investigation does not consider the actions of the Pussy Riot band, who organized a "punk prayer service" at a Moscow church, to be a crime, Moskovsky Komsomolets newspaper reported on Thursday, citing attorney Violetta Volkova.
The experts concluded that the only possible crime is that the group could have caused offence to believers, said the attorney of one of the arrested. This kind of violation is punishable by a fine of 1,000 rubles ($34.1), she added.
On February 21, five masked members of Pussy Riot performed a protest song named "Holy Sh*t" at the altar of Moscow's Christ the Savior Cathedral. The lyrics of the song included lines such as "Holy Mother, Blessed Virgin, chase Putin out!"
According to Pussy Riot, the performance was a response to Orthodox Church head Patriarch Kirill's backing of President-elect Vladimir Putin in the run-up to his landslide March 4 election victory. The patriarch called the 12 years of Putin's rule a "miracle of God" in a televised meeting.
All three accused face up to seven years on hooliganism charges.
The attorney said that experts had conducted both psychological and linguistic analysis of the "punk prayer service".
Nikolai Polozov, attorney of another Pussy Riot member, said that he was surprised by these conclusions. He said he had expected dubious and biased results.
Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Maria Alyokhina and Yekaterina Samutsevich were detained in early and mid-March. All the suspects admit being part of the Pussy Riot collective, but deny their involvement in the cathedral performance. Both Alyokhina and Tolokonnikova have young children.
According to the ruling of the Tagansky District Court of Moscow made last week, the women must be held in custody until at least June 24.
Some 300 people have gathered in front of the court to demand freedom for the suspects. The police have made a number of arrests, detaining some 30 demonstrators wearing t-shirts supporting Pussy Riot.