13 Sep 2012

Freedom for punk trio suggested by Medvedev

8:51 am on 13 September 2012

Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev of Russia suggested on Wednesday that imprisoned members of the Pussy Riot punk band should be freed.

Three members of the group were sentenced on 17 August to two years in prison for staging a protest against Vladimir Putin in a cathedral in Moscow on 21 February.

Maria Alyokhina, 24, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, 22, and Yekaterina Samutsevich 29, were found guilty of "hooliganism motivated by religious hatred".

They have been in prison since March. An appeal against the verdict and their sentence is due to start on 1 October.

Mr Medvedev said he was sickened by their actions but said the five months they had spent in pre-trial detention was punishment enough.

"A suspended sentence, taking into account time they have already spent (in jail), would be entirely sufficient," Mr Medvedev said in televised remarks on Wednesday.