Expert whose findings led to Pussy Riot charges won't testify
MOSCOW, August 6 – RAPSI. Judge Marina Syrova on the sixth day of the Pussy Riot trial dismissed punk rock collective Pussy Riot’s motion to call to the stand an expert whose conclusions have served as the basis for charges against them.
The defense submitted a motion to call Igor Ponkin to the stand on Monday. The expert's conclusions about the vulgarity of their protest in the Christ the Savior Cathedral have been used as the basis of charges against them.
According to attorney Violetta Volkova, experts constantly say that the punk prayer was directed against Orthodox believers, but they do not provide any grounds for their conclusions about the protest's vulgarity.
She added that a list of the literature used by the expert has not been provided.
“This is a grave violation of the order for holding expert examinations,” Volkova said.
Group members Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Maria Alyokhina, and Yekaterina Samutsevich remained in pretrial detention since their early March arrest for an incident that some have lauded as a valid exercise of free speech, and others have lambasted as blasphemous.
The group members face up to seven years in prison.
On February 21, five girls wearing brightly colored masks stormed the altar of downtown Moscow’s Christ the Savior Cathedral to perform a protest song entitled, "Holy Sh*t." A video with their performance was posted on the Internet and incited a public uproar.