MOSCOW, November 29 - RAPSI. A Moscow judge held Thursday that a video montage that spread across the Internet like wildfire of Pussy Riot's now infamous punk rock prayer qualifies as extremist material, thus upholding prosecutors' efforts to have the footage banned in Russia.
The Russian Legal Information Agency (RAPSI) hosted live text broadcast of the trial, which was held in Moscow's Zamoskvoretsky District Court, and was presided over by Judge Marina Musimovich.
The video in question is a montage of the girls' performance of their punk rock protest song from the altar of Christ the Savior Cathedral in central Moscow shortly before the March 2012 presidential elections which were to return prime minister Putin back to the presidency. Dancing around raucously in brightly colored balaclavas and mini-dresses, and executing a series of high kicks, the Pussy Riot members shouted requests to the Virgin Mary to "chase Putin out." The video was posted online and evoked a massive public outcry.
Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Maria Alyokhina, and Yekaterina Samutsevich were arrested shortly after the performance. The three were convicted of hooliganism motivated by religious hatred in August and sentenced to two years in prison each. On appeal, a judge converted Samutsevichs sentence to time served with immediate release after her new attorney argued that she had been detained by church security before reaching the stage, and that she thus had not participated in the punk rock prayer.
Tolokonnikova and Alyokhina are currently carrying out their sentences.