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Pussy Riot Jailed for Two Years

© RIA Novosti . Alexandr Utkin / Go to the mediabankPussy Riot Trial Verdict: Live Updates
Pussy Riot Trial Verdict: Live Updates - Sputnik International
Anti-Putin punks Pussy Riot were jailed for two years each on Friday over a February protest in Moscow's largest cathedral. The verdict sparked protests outside the courtroom. RIA Novosti was at the court and on the streets of Moscow.

Anti-Putin punks Pussy Riot were jailed for two years each on Friday over a February protest in Moscow's largest cathedral. The verdict sparked protests outside the courtroom. RIA Novosti was at the court and on the streets of Moscow.

Refresh this page for live updates from the court and news on expected protests by Pussy Riot supporters. All times below, Moscow time.

20:20 - Police standing by as song, "Putin Lights Up the Fires", continues to blast out. Lyrics include the line: "The country is moving, and Putin is moving out!" Has the protest movement found an anthem?

20:14 - The crowd starts to chant "Putin is a thief" now. "Help defend your homeland!" a protester yells at a riot police officer. "I know where my homeland is," the officer replies. A car arrives and starts blasting out Pussy Riot songs. Police moving in.

20:05 - More arrests. Protester holds up an anti-Putin leaflet in middle of the road, police drag him away. But the leaflet falls and a young man picks it up, before he is also dragged away. Arrests mounting now.

20:01 - More than 50 people were detained at the Khamovnichesky court on Friday, city police said.

20:00 - Arrests now as protesters hold up a "you are f*cking insane" banner. Police move in to wrench the cardboard banner away and drag activists away to the police truck waiting nearby. Things just seemed to be calming down. There are around 100 protesters left outside the court.

19:48 - Protesters hang a banner in support of Pussy Riot from a nearby residential building. The text, reading “Gundai and the gang are holy sh*t,” adds the real name of church head Patriarch Kirill, or Kirill Gundyayev, to a line from a Pussy Riot song.

19:45 - “Why don't you just hang an American flag up there?” an elderly local says. Many Russians believe Pussy Riot's protest was part of a Western-backed plot to destabilize Russia.

19:26 - Police start ordering protesters to disperse. Crowd responds with "we are not leaving."

19:25 - The Russian Orthodox Church called the verdict justified in a statement on Friday, but said it asks the authorities to pardon the Pussy Riot members.

19:15 - Defense lawyers say they will appeal. Crowd greet them with a sustained round of applause as they leave.

19:05 - Crowd chanting "Virgin Mary, free Pussy Riot!"

18:56 - The majority of Russian journalists seem as angry at, or at least as dismayed by the sentence as Pussy Riot supporters.

18:52 - Crowd chanting "fascists" now, like during the ill-fated rally on Moscow's Bolotnaya Square on May 6 that ended with riots. Things seem to be getting nasty. A police major refuses to comment the apparent intrusion into the Turkish embassy when asked by RIA Novosti.

18:50 - Crowd of several hundred Pussy Riot supporters chants "we won't forget, we won't forgive" outside the courtroom. Protester scales lamppost, puts on Pussy Riot type balaclava and chants "free Pussy Riot." Police scale fence and chase girl into territory of nearby Turkish embassy. "F*ck you aren't allowed in there!" screams a senior officer.

18:34 - Tolokonnikova’s husband Verzilov tells journalists outside the court that "the only thing that can save my wife and our child is revolution." "I feel like we have to make a revolution," he repeats, in English. Verzilov is a member of the Voina art group. "Voina" means "war" in English.

18:33 - Opposition lawmaker Dmitry Gudkov tells journalists the sentence proves "there is no independent court in Russia," and that the trial has "dragged the country back to the "middle ages." He also warns that rulings like this increase the danger of "civil war." But he says "repression will not stop the protest movement."

18:22 - The crowd applauds as a police van carrying Pussy Riot members drives away, then starts chanting, "How much does a conscience cost?" But no violence outside the courtroom after earlier detentions.

18:15 - The U.S. Embassy in Russia called the verdict "disproportionate" on its official Twitter.

18:13 - Samutsevich's father tells journalists outside the court that sentence was "terrible" and his daughter did not deserve jail time.

18:00 - The crowd outside the courtroom starts to shout in anger.

17:59 - Pussy Riot members laughing among themselves as they wait to be led away.

17:57 - All three group members get two years' jail time, of which they have some 14 months left to serve. Pussy Riot all smile sadly as sentence is read. Cries of “disgrace!” sound in the courtroom at the verdict, but quickly die down.

17:55 - Same for Samutsevich, Alyokhina.

17:54 - Tolokonnikova gets two years.

17:50 - Judge Syrova still reading the verdict. People finding it hard not to fidget or chat. Everyone just seems to want her to get to the sentence, especially Pussy Riot. By the way, this is the court where former oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky was sentenced in 2010 on fraud charges he said were the Kremlin's revenge for his financial support of opposition parties.

17:46 - The judge dismisses Pussy Riot’s claim that they were acting on political motives, not religious hatred.

17:43 - A recorded song by Pussy Riot is blasting outside the court, but loud enough for the sound to carry to the courtroom.

17:31 - Whatever the sentence is, the Pussy Riot story is unlikely to end here. Defense lawyers have said they will appeal the guilty verdict at the European Court of Human Rights even if their clients are not jailed.

17:30 - We could be here for a while yet. One thing for sure, Judge Syrova will have a sore throat tonight. She's been speaking non-stop now for over two hours.

17:10 - The Orthodox Christian church's de facto spokesman on the case, archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin, told RIA Novosti in an exclusive interview last month that the church expected the women to repent for their protest. Chaplin said god had "revealed" this to him in a vision.

16:59 - Tolokonnikova smirking as the judge repeats Pussy Riot’s insults toward church and Putin.

16:45 - The judge is reading character references. Alyokhina "writes poetry, fights against injustice and does not drink. She is also a vegan and a good mother to her small child." Both Alyokhina and Tolokonnikova have small children they haven't seen for over five months.

16:43 - The three Pussy Riot members are listening to the verdict standing in their glass enclosing in handcuffs, though their guards removed the handcuffs during previous hearings.

16:24 - Online Moscow newspaper The Village reported that police filled five vans with people arrested outside the courtroom. Moscow municipal lawmaker Kostas Jankauskas said opposition leader Garry Kasparov was also held by police, who beat him up when detaining him.

16:05 - Judge Syrova also says that there was no mention of President Vladimir Putin or politics during the performance in the cathedral. The phrase “Virgin Mary drive Putin out” was added to the video of the performance later, the judge says.

16:03 - Outside, arrests continue. Police broke through the crowd to detain a man, prompting angry cries from other protesters, but no outright clashes.

16:02 - Judge Syrova is describing how the women were dressed in “inappropriate clothes for a church” and how they shouted “blasphemous and sacrilegious words hurtful to believers”.

15:52 - Alyokhina smiles and shakes her head slowly as the judge describes how the group’s protest “insulted the feelings of Orthodox believers”.

15:50 - Incredibly tense here at Moscow’s Khamovnichesky district court. Everyone is waiting to see if the judge will impose a custodial sentence or free the convicts who spent five months in pretrial detention. Analysts have little doubt it’s a decision that has been taken outside the courtroom. Orthodox believers are split on what should be done.

15:43 - The father of Yekaterina Samutsevich and the mother of Maria Alyokhina, the other two group members convicted today, are also in the courtroom, smiling sadly at their children, who are kept in a glass cage, like all suspects in Russian court cases.

15:39 - Outside, protesters continue with oppositional chants while police is pulling people out of the crowd to haul away to police vans, seemingly at random.

15:36 - Pussy Riot member Tolokonnikova is standing with her arms crossed, scowling as the verdict is being read. She sports her usual T-Shirt with a clenched fist and the Spanish words “No Pasaran!” (“They shall not pass!”). The courtroom is packed. There was a near riot outside the courtroom as journalists were kept waiting for over three hours to be allowed in.

15:27 - A handful of Cossacks have shown up by the court, and some skinheads can be spotted in the crowd.

15:22 - The crowd, which swelled to at least several hundred, possibly a thousand, is chanting “Down with police state!”, ignoring police’s demands to stop. Nearby, a group of stocky men in track suits are shouting: “Pussy Riot will fail!”

15:17 - Now judge Marina Syrova will read the entire verdict before announcing the sentence, which could take a few hours.

15:17 - Pussy Riot found guilty, the judge says.

15:16 - The hearing starts.

15:04 - Outside, a quartet is performing classical music. Tensions have died down, but the crowd started chanting “Free Pussy Riot”.

15:00 - No court hearings in Pussy Riot’s two-week long trial started on time, and today is no exception.

14:55 - Street artist Pyotr Verzilov, the husband of one of the defendants Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, arrives in court to general applause.

14:30 - Navalny is joined by opposition lawmaker Dmitry Gudkov. His father Gennady Gudkov, also an opposition deputy, is battling accusations that he illegally ran several businesses while serving in the State Duma. The ruling United Russia is rumored to be preparing to strip him of parliamentary immunity in what the Gudkovs call political retribution for their anti-Kremlin activism.

14:29 - Udaltsov has a track record of more than 100 brief detentions for unsanctioned street protests.

14:28 - Udaltsov is detained in front of the court. People applaud him.

14:23 - Fellow oppositionist, leftist leader Sergei Udaltsov, arrived at the court. Despite his atheist convictions, he said that believers from among prosecutors and court officials involved in the trial would burn in hell in case of a guilty verdict.

14:16 - Opposition figurehead Alexei Navalny has arrived to the court to support Pussy Riot. Navalny is facing his own legal troubles after investigators reopened an old fraud case against him last month that could see him jailed for ten years.

14:15 - A brief scuffle between two old ladies and a man flares at the entrance to the court. Nearby, an angry man tries to attack a girl mock praying on her knees.

14:09 - Chaos is cooking slowly: two more protesters are hauled away, the remaining Pussy Riot supporters are yelling at the police. Meanwhile, another group is waving pocket icons in the air and singing religious hymns to a tambourine.

13:59 - A sizeable crowd has gathered outside the courtroom, but most of it is press. A dozen activists of the moderately rightwing Liberal Democratic Party are holding a picket against Pussy Riot down the street, police doesn’t intervene.

13:50 - The only way for the authorities to save face is to have the three group members acquitted,  defense lawyer Nikolai Polozov told press outside the courtroom. He added that the case was masterminded by the country’s leadership, but named no names.

13:30 - Outside the court building in Moscow two scragly, hipster-looking young men tried to unfurl some placards, but were hauled away by the police before anyone could get a good look at what the posters said.

13:29 - In Krasnoyarsk, a young woman streaked the street topless, but in balaclava and covering her breasts with a poster reading "Free Pussy Riot".

13:24 - Meanwhile, in Ukraine’s capital Kiev members of fellow radical feminist group Femen showed support for Pussy Riot by hacking down a wooden cross with a chainsaw and taking its place in a Jesus Christ-like pose. The female protester was topless as Femen members always are and had “Free Pussy Riot” written on her body.

A defense lawyer, Violetta Volkova, called the performance "evil" on Twitter, but said it was reaction to pressure from conservative radicals opposing Pussy Riot.

13:02 - Massive scrum as police start to allow video crews into the court. It’s set to be a long day: the judge is expected to read out the entire text of the ruling before – in the event of a guilty verdict – announcing the actual sentence.

12:46 - Half a dozen monuments across Moscow inadvertently joined the campaign in support of Pussy Riot on Friday: activists dressed them in colored balaclavas like those sported by Pussy Riot members during their performance at the cathedral. The list of hijacked statues includes poets Alexander Pushkin and Abai Qunanbaiuli, scientist Mikhail Lomonosov and a group of World War II partisans.

12:14 - There's a heavy police presence around the Khamovnichesky district court, with metal barriers blocking passage to pedestrians. Riot police is also present. Heavy media presence too, as expected for a case that has made international headlines. Protesters both for and against the group are already gathering in front of the court.

11:35 - Just to remind you, Pussy Riot performed a “punk prayer” that urged the Virgin Mary to “drive Putin out” at Moscow’s Christ the Savior Cathedral on February 26. Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, 22, Maria Alyokhina, 24, and Yekaterina Samutsevich, 30, are charged with hooliganism aimed at “inciting religious hatred” over the protest. But lawyers for the group say the performance was not anti-religion and intended to protest Orthodox Church support for Vladimir Putin ahead of the March 4 presidential elections.

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