World Cup Pussy Riot

Stewards pull a woman off the pitch after she stormed onto the field and interrupted the final match between France and Croatia at the 2018 soccer World Cup in the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow, Russia.

AP Photo/Martin Meissner

The European Court of Human Rights rules that the Russian government should pay members of the controversial punk band Pussy Riot just under €50,000 euro ($58,000) as compensation for the 2012 "punk prayer" controversy.

In accordance with the ruling, there were violations of several articles of the European Convention on Human Rights, including "the overcrowded conditions of the band members' transportation to and from the courtroom to attend hearings on their cases and because they had to suffer the humiliation of being permanently exposed in a glass dock during their hearings, surrounded by armed police officers and a guard dog, despite no evident security risk," ECHR said in a press release.

Sentencing the Pussy Riot members to imprisonment "for simply having worn brightly colored clothes, waved their arms and kicked their legs around and used strong language, without analyzing the lyrics of their song or the context of their performance, was exceptionally severe," ECHR added.

The compensation is to be paid to three Pussy Riot members, Maria Alyokhina, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Yekaterina Samutsevich.

Alyokhina and Tolokonnikova were given two-year sentences for the "punk prayer" they performed at Moscow's Christ the Savior Cathedral in February 2012, protesting against Vladimir Putin's likely running for a third presidential term.

Samutsevich was released on probation in October 2012. Alyokhina and Tolokonnikova were released on probation in December 2013, four months before their sentences were supposed to expire.

Many viewed the move as the Russian government's attempt to improve its reputation prior to the 2104 Winter Olympics, held in Russia's Black Sea resort of Sochi.

In July 2014, Alyokhina and Tolokonnikova filed a complaint with ECHR, demanding the Russian government pay them compensation of over $300,000 for what they alleged amounted to torture during their prosecution and subsequent imprisonment.

Pussy Riot welcomed the ruling on their Twitter account.

The Russian government has not yet said whether it will appeal the ruling. In the past, Russia complied with ECHR decisions. However, earlier this year, there were reports that Russia was considering withdrawing from the human rights convention and stopping cooperation with ECHR.

Last Sunday, four other Pussy Riot members invaded the pitch during the World Cup final in Moscow and were each sentenced to 15 days in prison.

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