MOSCOW, August 1 - RAPSI. RAPSI is hosting a live text coverage of the heavily anticipated Pussy Riot trial as it progresses.
The hooliganism trial of three members of Russian punk rock collective Pussy Riot began Monday in a Moscow court in a case that has attracted heated controversy worldwide.
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 that others have lambasted as blasphemous. Group members face up to seven years in prison.
On February 21, five girls wearing brightly colored balaclavas stormed the altar of downtown Moscow’s Christ the Savior Cathedral to perform an anti-Putin protest song entitled, “Holy Sh*t.”
Prosecutors have maintained that the Pussy Riot members "inflicted substantial damage to the sacred values of the Christian ministry…infringed upon the sacramental mystery of the Church… [and] humiliated in a blasphemous way the age-old foundations of the Russian Orthodox Church."
19:22 This wraps up tonight's coverage, but stay tuned for another live text broadcast tomorrow! Realtime coverage will begin at 10:00 Moscow time.
19:18 A man with the camera was noticed in the courtroom, despite the ban. Reporters with cameras were banned from entering the courtroom yesterday. The Moscow City Court is said to be filming the proceedings.
19:06 According to Gonashvili, she got the permission of the priest first to enter pulpit, but she never danced there.
18:53 The second witness of the day has taken the stand. Eteri Gonashvili is the treasurer of Bogoyavlenskiy Cathedral, where the girls performed another punk prayer a few days prior to the incident at Christ the Savior Cathedral. According to Gonashvili, Bogoyavlenskiy Cathedral had to be blessed by a priest after the performance.
18:31 The doctors have given the go-ahead for the trial to continue. According to them, everyone is healthy and there is no need for hospitalization, especially in defense lawyer Violetta Volkova's case.
18:26 The bailiff said that he would not let anyone back into the court because the working day is over. After a fierce battle, however, journalists were allowed into the court under the caveat that anyone who leaves will not be allowed back in.
18:02 Pussy Riot lawyer Nikolai Polozov says that the defendants' sentence allegedly might be imposed as early as next week.
17:46 Ugrik talks to the journalists. From his point of view, probation would be an adequate punishment for the Pussy Riot girls.
17:32 Two ambulances have arrived. A car generally used for translporting prisoners (avtozak) arrived shortly before that as well.
17:13 Another break has been announced. An ambulence was called for the defendants and defense attorney Violetta Volkova.
16:51 The witness criticized Pussy Riot's name, which he translated into Russian as "Гнойный разгул" (Festering orgy), as well as the group memebers' outlook, which in his opinion, was obscene when they were in the cathedral. He described their performance overall as an abomination. The witness is claiming that the accused girls prayed to the devil in the Christian cathedral.
16:39 The judge called the first witness of the day to the stand, Oleg Ugrik. He claimed that Pussy Riot, came to the church in order to declare war on God and the Russian Orthodox Church.
16:32 The Pussy Riot defendants claim they'd rather just go, waiving their rights to take part in further proceedings.The defense team is outraged. Violetta Volkova left the courtroom.
16:28 Tolokonnikova is requesting that the hearing be postponed. "We are barely conscious. We were up all night preparing our statements." The judge insisted however that the doctors said the girls were OK, and promised to call the ambulance again if necessary.
16:07 The judge dimissed motions for her recusal.
15:51 Lawyer Larisa Pavlova said that two of the aggrieved parties who took the stand during yesterday's hearing were harassed outside the courtroom afterward. Some suspicious people chased the aggrieved parties and shouted "Shame!" at them. According to Pavlova, the attackers were inebriated. Claiming that defense lawyer Violetta Volkova and defendant Nadezhda Tolokonnikova's husband were present at the scene, she alleges that Tolokonnikova's husband orchestrated the incident.
15:36 As the judge deliberates the motions, Pussy Riot lawyer Nikolai Polozov is explaining that the ambulance was called today for Maria Alyokhina (see 13:32). She is vegetarian, and fruits and vegetables are insufficient to keep her energy up under the present circumstances. Doctors gave her an injection because her blood sugar level had dropped. She is doing better now, but she cannot fully participate in the hearing, according to Polozov.
15:12 The judge has retreated to her chambers in order to make a decision on the challenge. The hearing has been adjourned for a break.
15:04 Defense lawyer Violetta Volkova charged to the contrary that she saw the judge conferring privately with Taratukhin. At this point the prosecution is the only party to the case that isn't pushing for the judge's recusal.
14:53 After a nearly two-hour delay, the proceedings have finally started. The aggrieved parties lawyer demands that the judge presiding over the case be recused. Lawyer Aleksei Taratukhin said that the judge has violated the aggrieved parties' rights. Specifically, the judge allowed the defense team to comment on the testimonies delivered by the aggrieved parties. Furthermore, Taratukhin charges that the judge conferred with defense attorney Violetta Volkova after yesterday's hearing. Yesterday it was the defense team which asked for the judge's recusal. Their motion was rejected.
14:43 The Pussy Riot members are already in the courtroom. When asked about their health, they said that they were okay. Journalists are finally being allowed into the courtroom.
14:27 Defense attorney Mark Feigin has at last arrived. According to him, the hearing will begin in 15 minutes.
14:06 The defense lawyers have not yet arrived. The crowd waiting to get into the courtroom is growing.
13:52 Doctors have examined the Pussy Riot girls. According to them, the girls are fine to stand trial today. The hearing will begin as soon as defense attorneys Violetta Volkova and Mark Feigin arrive. They were at Moscow City Court for the Alyokhina's complaint hearing this morning.
13:38 Defense lawyer Polozov has not been permitted to see the Pussy Riot members.
13:32 An ambulence has been called for the Pussy Riot girls. Defense lawyer Nikolai Polozov does not know what exactly happened. According to the lawyer, the girls have become ill. The court spokesperson does not have any additional details to offer at this time.
13:27 In the meantime, Moscow City Court has held that Pussy Riot was provided a legally permissible timeframe within which to prepare for trial.
13:23 A woman with a huge banner criticizing the court for the Pussy Riot trial is standing near the building in an area that has traditionally been filled with protesters.
13:12 The hearing will be held today in a large courtroom. The court press secretary compiles a list of journalists. There are over two dozens of them seeking admission to the day's proceeding.
13:03 The Pussy Riot girls have already arrived at Khamovnichesky Court, but the start of the hearing has been delayed in order to give the Moscow City Court time to review a complaint filed by Maria Alyokhina. Her complaint is based on insufficient time for trial preparation.
Meanwhile you can read about what happened in court yesterday here. The hearing lasted for more than 9 hours. Violetta Volkova, a lawyer from Pussy Riot's defense team, stressed that other materials totaling 100 pages were added to the case which indicates falsification and serious procedural breach.
12:52 Due to enhanced security measures, bailiffs today are carefully examining all visitors and their bags. In order to enter the courtroom, all journalists were required to show either a passport or a press card. Casual observers have been denied admission.
12:45 The third day of hearings for the Pussy Riot trial has begun in Moscow's Khamovnichesky Court. It started with an unpleasant surprise for journalists. The court has imposed media coverage restrictions. In particular, reporters are forbidden from attributing factual findings to specific witnesses.