Pussy Riot Members Detained Alongside 200 Others in Moscow Protest

Pussy Riot members Maria Alyokhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova onstage at the Amnesty International Concert in Brooklyn, New York.

Monica Simoes

Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina, the two Pussy Riot members recently whipped by Cossacks in Sochi immediately following a media blitz in New York, have been arrested again while taking part in a protest outside of a Moscow courtroom. The pair was detained alongside an estimated 200 other people taking part in the demonstration.

Tolokonnikova and Alyokhina were taking part in a protest of the sentencing of 8 people arrested during a protest on May 6, 2012, the eve of Vladimir Putin's inauguration.

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The eight defendants were found guilty last week, but sentencing was postponed until Monday. All have been in custody for nearly two years except for Anastasia Dukhanina, 20, who was under house arrest. She was given a suspended sentence.

Dmitry Agranovsky, the lawyer for Andrei Belousov, a 22-year-old student sentenced to 2½ half years in prison, said he believed the harsh punishment was in part a Kremlin reaction to the violent protests in neighboring Ukraine that ousted an unpopular government last week.

The U.S. Department of State released a statement on their convictions Friday. "We have seen numerous prosecutions of activists, journalists, and opposition politicians since 2012, including the recent case of environmental activist Yevgeniy Vitishko, sentenced to three years in jail for reportedly spray-painting a fence. We reiterate our serious concerns about the ongoing pressure on civil society in Russia."

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