MOSCOW, August 24 - RAPSI. The Presidential Human Rights Council's members have questioned the lawfulness of Pussy Riot's sentence, according to a statement published on the organization's website.

Seventeen members signed the statement, including Lyudmila Alexeyeva, Valentin Gefter, Alexey Golovan and Igor Yurgens.

"The condemnation of the shocking act - violating the rules of behavior in religious institutions - does, however, leave questions about the lawfulness of the sentence passed against them, of the fairness and humanity of the punishment," they said. "Society is not indifferent to situations when criminal law is applied to actions which, under law, should be punished administratively."

On February 21, 2012, five girls wearing brightly colored masks stormed the altar of Moscow's 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 public outcry.

Pussy Riot members Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Maria Alyokhina and Yekaterina Samutsevich were sentenced to two years in prison on August 17.

The sentence stresses that the three women held a rally to incite hatred and animosity and their actions resulted in the genuine threat of civil violence in the country.

Pursuant to the statement, the criminal case aroused many questions, particularly why the defendants were given equal prison terms and why their punishments could not be conditional.