Despite protests around Europe- in London, Berlin, Barcelona, Dublin, and Belgrade, and despite support from musicians all over the world like Madonna and Paul McCartney, as of 9:56 Eastern Time, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Maria Alekhina, and Yekaterina Samutsevich, of the band Pussy Riot have been found guilty of “Hooliganism, aimed at inciting religious hatred” by a Russian court.
The Judge chastised the women for “openly displaying disrespect…towards all Orthodox Christians”, “violating the common rules of behavior of the cathedral”, and that the “jerking of limbs” during their performance was “further proof of hatred towards Christians.”
They have each been sentenced to two years in prison.
Outside the courthouse, hundreds of people dressed in Pussy Riot’s trademark neon balaclavas protested, even though many of them are apparently being arrested or detained by police, and girls no older than 16 are also being dragged away by police.
Gary Kasparov, the former World Chess Champion, was also arrested by police for protesting outside the Courthouse (see above, being led into, and inside a police van)
People have so often been noting the similarities of this trial with show trials of the old Soviet Union. While there are many, I think the most obvious changes from the old days are the fact that there are open protests going on, both in support of, and in opposition to the Pussy Riot verdict; and that the entire world is watching.
It would have been unthinkable, forty years ago, for their to be American, or British, or even Russian news coverage of what amounts to a show trial. The difference now is that the world can see just how unjust and corrupt the Russian justice system really is.