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Russia’s Putin denies role in Pussy Riot case

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said he was "staying out" of the controversial case of the Pussy Riot punk group.



Moscow: Russian President Vladimir Putin has said he was "staying out" of the controversial case of the Pussy Riot punk group, whose three members were jailed last month over a protest in a Moscow cathedral.

"I know what`s going on with Pussy Riot, but I am staying out of that," Putin told RT TV in an interview.

Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, 22, Maria Alyokhina, 24, and Yekaterina Samutsevich, 30, were sentenced to two years each by a Moscow court in August after being found guilty of "hooliganism aimed at inciting religious hated".

The decision has sparked protests and international condemnation.

Opposition leader Alexei Navalny said after the ruling that Putin had "written the verdict".

Alternately high-kicking and crossing themselves in the Christ the Savior Cathedral, where Russia`s leaders traditionally celebrate religious holidays, Pussy Riot performed a raucous and atonal "punk prayer" that urged "Mother Mary" to "drive Putin out" in February.

Lawyers for Pussy Riot said the performance was not anti-religion and was a response to the Orthodox Church`s support for Putin ahead of the March presidential polls.

Putin said before the trial that he hoped the court would not judge the women "too harshly".

The aftermath of the Pussy Riot trial has seen a rise in tensions between supporters and critics of the powerful Orthodox Church.

A number of wooden crosses have been chopped down in Russia by a group who said the act was "revenge" for the jailing of the group members.

The Pussy Riot row has also sparked a rise in Orthodox militancy, with fringe groups announcing plans to patrol near churches to protect them from "desecration".

In a recent incident in Moscow, Orthodox activists tore a Pussy Riot T-shirt off a member of the public and harassed staff at a museum of erotica.

Bodies of two women were found last week in their apartment in Tatarstan under the words "Free Pussy Riot!" scrawled in blood. Pro-Kremlin tabloids accused the group`s supporters of the murder. The suspect later confessed to have written the words in attempt to throw police off his trail.

IANS

From Zee News

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