MOSCOW, August 20 - RAPSI. The Pussy Riot punk band members convicted for hooliganism will not seek a pardon, defense attorney Nikolai Polozov told the Russian Legal Information agency (RAPSI) on Monday.

"The defendants have been clear that they will not plea for a pardon in any event," said Polozov.

He added that the defendants have 10 days to file an appeal against the sentence. The defense has not received its copy of the sentence which the court is required to produce within five days. For this reason the decision has not been contested, said the lawyer.

Moscow's Khamovnichesky District Court sentenced Pussy Riot members Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Maria Alyokhina, and Yekaterina Samutsevich to two years in prison on August 17.

On February 21, 2012 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." Shortly thereafter, an edited video of the performance that was uploaded to the Internet incited a major public outcry.

Audiences worldwide have zeroed in on the Punk Rock collective members’ highly controversial arrest and detention.  The controversy surrounding the Pussy Riot trial centers on the competing interests of free speech and religious sanctity.

On the one hand, Tolokonnikova, Alyokhina, and Samutsevich have consistently maintained that the Christ the Savior Cathedral performance was politically and artistically - rather than religiously - motivated. Their defense team has maintained that the incident was a legitimate, albeit shocking and controversial, exercise of free speech and free expression.

On the other hand, critics have vehemently criticized the group for what has been viewed as an obscene performance in a space that is seen as sacred to the Russian Orthodox Church.