Russian Punks Challenge Authorities On Final Day Of Trial
Jailed Russian punks Pussy Riot used the final day of their trial on Wednesday (08Aug12) to whip up public support by likening themselves to Soviet-era literary heroes Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn and Joseph Brodsky in court.
Three members of the all-girl feminist band face seven years behind bars when they're sentenced next week (17Aug12), but they were defiant in court, insisting they are being persecuted for their beliefs - just like the writers.
The trio was arrested after performing a protest song about Russian leader Vladimir Putin during an impromptu church gig in Moscow in March (12). The punks have been behind bars ever since.
Speaking from a glass and metal box, which has housed the three rockers throughout the eight-day trial, Pussy Riot's Nadezhda Tolokonnikova told the court, "I, like Solzhenitsyn, believe that words will crush concrete. We sit in a cage, but we didn't lose. And the dissidents didn't lose. Disappearing in psychiatric wards and jails, they convicted the regime."
Bandmate Maria Alyokhina added, "At Brodsky's trial, his poems were also dubbed so-called poems and weren't read - just like the witnesses just watched our video on the Internet. I am not afraid of you. You can take away my so-called freedom, but you can never take my inner freedom."
Fans inside the court applauded the women and cheered for them as they were led out of court.
Madonna, Patti Smith, Sting and the Red Hot Chili Peppers are among the international stars who have spoken out in defence of the band.
According to RollingStone.com, the trio's defence lawyers expect a guilty verdict, and are hoping for leniency and consideration of time served behind bars. Prosecutors have requested each band member spends at least three years in prison.