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Pussy Rioters jailed for World Cup pitch invasion

Published : Tuesday, 17 July, 2018 at 11:46 AM Count : 327

A Moscow court on Monday jailed four members of Pussy Riot group for 15 days after they invaded the pitch during the World Cup final dressed in police uniforms.

The convicts are Veronika Nikulshina, Olga Kuracheva, Olga Pakhtusova and Pyotr Verzilov. There were also banned from visiting sports events for three years, quoting Mediazona court news site, AFP reports.

Pussy Riot is a Russian feminist protest punk rock group based in Moscow. Founded in August 2011, it had a variable membership of approximately 11 women ranging in age from about 20 to 33.

They were found guilty of "grossly violating the rules for spectators' behaviour" and given the maximum punishment possible under the charge.

Verzilov is the founder of Mediazona website, which reports on trials of rights activists.

The four ran onto the pitch at Moscow's Luzhniki stadium on Sunday and briefly halted play in the second half of the match between France and Croatia, watched by President Vladimir Putin and world leaders including French President Emmanuel Macron.

Pussy Riot immediately posted messages on social media claiming responsibility for the protest and issuing a list of six political demands.

"Let all political prisoners free," said the first.

Others included an end to arrests at peaceful rallies and to "allow political competition in the country".

Pussy Riot is most famous for performing an anti-Putin protest song in a central Moscow church in February 2012.

Three of the group's members were convicted of "hooliganism motivated by religious hatred" at a trial that attracted global media attention and drew protests from rights groups.

Group members Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina were released after serving 22 months of their two-year sentences. The other convicted member Yekaterina Samutsevich was given a suspended sentence.




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