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Pussy Riot lawyer fired

Oct. 1, 2012 at 7:52 AM

MOSCOW, Oct. 1 (UPI) -- Pussy Riot member Ekaterina Samutsevich said she fired her lawyer during an appeal hearing Monday in Russia because the two did not share the same position.

The two other lawyers on the feminist punk rock band's defense team -- Mark Feygin and Nikolai Polozov -- said the move to fire lawyer Violetta Volkova was unexpected.

"When we met with her, she didn't warn us, [and] there was no information that she was planning to refuse the service of her lawyers," Feygin said.

A judge postponed the appeal hearing until Oct. 10, giving Samutsevich time to sign a contract with her new lawyer, RIA Novosti reported.

State prosecutors criticized the move as a plan to delay proceedings.

Samutsevich, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina were arrested for staging a protest earlier this year against President Vladimir Putin at a Moscow cathedral. During the event, they called on "Mother Mary" to run Putin out of office.

A court ruled the women had deliberately insulted members of the Orthodox Church, which had been a supporter of Putin, RIA Novosti said. Each of the three women was sentenced to two years in prison.

The prosecution of Pussy Riot was assailed by critics, including free-speech and political activists, contending it was a muzzling of opposition to Putin.

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