Icelandic pop star Bjork has voiced her support for jailed Russian rockers Pussy Riot and invited them to join her on stage when they are freed from prison.
Three members of the all-girl band are on trial on hooliganism charges for performing a protest song against Russian President Vladimir Putin in a church in February (12).
Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Maria Alekhina and Yekaterina Samutsevich face seven years behind bars when they are sentenced next week (begs13Aug12), but Bjork has urged authorities to let the stars go free.
In a statement posted on her website, she writes, "As a musician and a mother I would like to express I fiercely don't agree with them being put to jail because of their peaceful protest performance. They are currently standing trial and facing seven years in prison for this.
"In my opinion the Russian authorities should let them go home to their families and children. I would like to invite Pussy Riot to join me in a particular song on stage which was written for all enhancement of justice."
Meanwhile, Samutsevich's closing statement from the trial this week (begs06Aug12) has been published online.
Samutsevich explains, "During the closing statement, the defendant is expected to repent or express regret for her deeds, or to enumerate attenuating circumstances. In my case, as in the case of my colleagues in the group, this is completely unnecessary...
"I now have mixed feelings about this trial. On the one hand, we now expect a guilty verdict. Compared to the judicial machine, we are nobodies, and we have lost. On the other hand, we have won. Now the whole world sees that the criminal case against us has been fabricated. The system cannot conceal the repressive nature of this trial.
"Once again, Russia looks different in the eyes of the world from the way Putin tries to present it at daily international meetings. All the steps toward a state governed by the rule of law that he promised have obviously not been made. And his statement that the court in our case will be objective and make a fair decision is another deception of the entire country and the international community."
Actor Elijah Wood has also backed the band, linking to the statement on his Twitter.com page and declaring, "Beautiful and standing by their noble intent to the end."