Russian Prime Minister calls for Pussy Riot release

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Russia’s Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has urged the release of jailed punk-protest group Pussy Riot in a new statement.

Last month three members of the punk band were found guilty of “hooliganism motivated by religious hatred” and were sentenced to two years in jail.

The trio had been the subject of a lengthy trial following the performance of a “punk prayer” in the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour. The song requested that the Virgin Mary drive Russian president Vladimir Putin from power.

But now the Russian PM has stated that they should be released, saying in a statement:

“In my view, a suspended sentence would be sufficient, taking into account the time they have already spent in custody.”

Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, 22, Maria Alyokhina, 24, and Yekaterina Samutsevich, 30, have been named prisoners of conscience by Amnesty International. They have become a cause celebre since their incarceration, with musicians including Madonna and Paul McCartney voicing their support.

You can watch the performance that led to their initial arrest below: