MOSCOW, August 23 - RAPSI. Russian Human Rights Commissioner Vladimir Lukin is prepared to contest the sentence handed down to three members of punk rock group Pussy Riot if a higher court does not mitigate Khamovnichesky Court's Friday decision. Members Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Maria Alyokhina and Yekaterina Samutsevich were sentenced to two years in prison on August 17.

"If the sentence remains the same, then the human rights commissioner has the right to challenge it, which I will be considering," Lukin told journalists on Thursday.

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

"I would like to stress that this is the sentence of the first inistance, and it has not yet come into effect. I hope that the higher court will consider the case more attentively," he said.

"I do not consider their actions a crime, but a misconduct, quite a serious one, but something which in civilized European states, of which Russia is one, is solved administratively rather that in a criminal court," he added.

Lukin, nevertheless, disapproved of the women's actions.

"In no way do I approve of their actions. I consider them tactless and silly," Lukin said.