MOSCOW, August 8 - RAPSI. The Khamovnichesky District Court will announce on August 17 the sentence of the Pussy Riot punk rock band members accused of disorderly conduct at Moscow's Christ the Savior Cathedral.

"The sentence will be announced on August 17 at 3 p.m.," Judge Marina Syrova said.

Earlier, the state prosecution demanded that the defendants be sentenced to three years in prison, while the defense requested to acquit the women.

On February 21, five girls wearing brightly colored masks stormed the altar of downtown Moscows 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.

Group members Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Maria Alyokhina, and Yekaterina Samutsevich have remained in pretrial detention since their arrest in early March after an incident that some have lauded as a valid exercise of free speech, and others have lambasted as blasphemous.