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Russia: Restrictions on Pussy Riot trial

Aug. 1, 2012 at 10:35 AM

MOSCOW, Aug. 1 (UPI) -- Reporting on the trial of an all-female band accused of saying a "punk prayer" critical of the Russian prime minister has been restricted by a Moscow court.

The Khamovniki Court on Wednesday banned online reports of the trial of the three members of punk band collective Pussy Riot, RIA Novosti reported.

"From now on it is prohibited to disclose in online reports the details of the case which witnesses mention in their testimonies," said court press secretary Daria Lyakh.

Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, 23, Maria Alyokhina, 24, and Yekaterina Samutsevich, 29, face hooliganism charges for a prayer in a Moscow Russian Orthodox cathedral earlier this year in which they allegedly bashed then-Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. Putin won election and is now the Russian president.

If convicted, they face up to seven years in prison.

Journalists will be allowed to publish information about the trial, including verbatim transcriptions, after all witnesses have testified, said Marina Usachova, head of Moscow City Court Press Service.

Band members have pleaded not guilty to the hooliganism charges. They have called their prayer performance from the altar an "ethical mistake."

The band members have received support from Amnesty International and musicians such as Sting and the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

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