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Pussy Riot member freed on appeal

  • A member of punk band Pussy Riot has been freed on appeal although a Moscow court upheld prison sentences for two others imposed over a cathedral protest against Vladimir Putin.

    Yekaterina Samutsevich left the Moscow City Court on Wednesday, six months after she was jailed. The appeal judge who suspended her two-year sentence said fellow band members Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina would serve out their terms.

    Samutsevich, 30, Tolokonnikova, 22, and Alyokhina, 24, were convicted in August of hooliganism motivated by religious hatred.

    In February, Pussy Riot stormed into Moscow's Christ the Saviour Cathedral to perform their “punk prayer” besides the alter.

    Their brief performance called on the Virgin Mary to "throw Putin out" leading the Church’s leader to label it as blasphemy.

    The band members say their protest was directed at Putin’s close ties with the Russian Orthodox Church.

    The United States and the European Union condemned the sentence as disproportionate.

    The women have also garnered support from celebrities such as Madonna, Sting and Paul McCartney.