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Court refuses to release 3rd Pussy Riot Band member, cites safety

28.03.12 18:44    By News dept., edited by Robert Gally


Pussy Riot soloists remain in custody.   Photo: ITAR-TASS


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Family members of the arrested Pussy Riot band members continue to get threats, said the band's lawyer, Volkova Violetta, during the cassation appeal hearing over the arrest of the third participating member in the Christ the Savior Cathedral protest, Ekaterina Samutsevich, reports the correspondent of the Moscow City Court "Gazeta.Ru."

Threats have been made against the relatives of band members, in particular, anonymous threats against the parents of Maria Alekhina and her child. Volkova said that the police posted all of the girls' personal information on the net. It is for this reason that Samutsevich initially hid her real name and called herself Irina Lokteva, said the lawyer. The prosecution, however, said that they considered the accused's arrest lawful and justified, as a consequence Samutsevich introduced misleading, concealing her real name.

Attorneys for Ekaterina Samutsevich also complained about the 24 hour video surveillance of Pussy Riot detainees.

Following the meeting, the Moscow City Court dismissed the cassation and will hold Samutsevich in custody until April 24. Volkova called the court's decision "unfair" and vowed to appeal to the European Court of Human Rights. Furthermore, counsel intends to clarify the grounds on which defendants for its video surveillance, and when arrested for investigations to begin. Volkova also stated that Samutsevich was willing to pay for the release of "any amount", which the "Solidarity" movement was ready to provide.

Catherine Samutsevich was arrested on March 16. She is charged with disorderly conduct during a protest in the Cathedral of Christ the Savior on February 21, where five girls sang punk 'prayers' in the church of Christ the Savior such as "Hail Mary, drive Putin out!" They wore masks and ran to the pulpit, approached the altar, setup their own amps and began shouting lyrics.

The initial response of the church was restrained. However, two days after the incident in the Church of Christ the Savior, a missionary school rector at the Church of St. Thomas, Dmitry Pakhomov, and the co-chairman of Orthodox public movement "People's Cathedral," Oleg Kassin, both appealed to the Prosecutor General's Office. A criminal case was then opened against Pussy Riot for "hooliganism" and the police began a search for the girls. Currently, three members are detained and under arrest: Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Maria Alekhina, and Ekaterina Samutsevich.

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