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Pussy Riot members sentenced to 2 years in prison

By Nataliya Vasilyeva

Associated Press

Published: Friday, Aug. 17 2012 8:07 a.m. MDT

MOSCOW — A Moscow judge has sentenced each of three members of the provocative punk band Pussy Riot to two years in prison on hooliganism charges following a trial that has drawn international outrage.

Friday's sentence comes amid a wave of protests around the world in support of the feminist rockers.

The judge said in the verdict that the three band members "committed hooliganism driven by religious hatred" and offended religious believers.

The three were arrested in March after a guerrilla performance in Moscow's main cathedral calling for the Virgin Mary to protect Russia against Vladimir Putin, who was elected to a new term as Russia's president two weeks later.

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