On Feb. 21, five members of the Russian punk rock band "Pussy Riot" staged a protest performance at Moscow's Cathedral of Christ the Savior against the Orthodox Church leader's support for Putin during his election campaign. Three members were arrested and on Aug. 17 were convicted of hooliganism motivated by religious hatred, each sentenced to two years imprisonment. Following an appeal, one band member was released on probation in October, but the sentences of the other two women were upheld and they were separated and sent to prison camps where they remain. Human rights groups such as Amnesty International and a wide range of Western musicians including Madonna, Sting and Yoko Ono have expressed considerable criticism over the sentences.
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