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Released Pussy Riot band member takes case to European court

  • The sole member of punk band Pussy Riot freed on appeal has taken her case to the European Court of Human Rights, accusing Russia of violating her rights to freedom of speech and illegally detaining her.

    Yekaterina Samutsevich, 30, was one of three band members sentenced to two years in jail in August over a cathedral protest against Vladimir Putin. She was freed on appeal on October 10, six months after she was jailed.

    Irina Khrunova, a lawyer acting on her behalf, said on Friday Samutsevich had lodged a complaint with the Strasbourg court claiming her rights had been violated during the time she spent in pre-trial detention.

    The two other band members, Maria Alyokhina, 24, and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, 22, remain in jail after a Moscow court upheld their prison sentences.

    The trio were convicted 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.