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Russia’s Medvedev criticizes Pussy Riot verdict as `too hard’



This news story was published on September 13, 2012.
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By Ulf Mauder –

MOSCOW — Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev Wednesday criticized as “too hard” last month’s sentencing of three members of punk rock band Pussy Riot to two years each in jail for staging a public punk prayer against President Vladimir Putin.

Medvedev said he was offended by the performance, in which the band, without permission, sang songs against Putin — who was campaigning for re-election as president. But, speaking before members of the country’s ruling United Russia party, he said probation would have been a more-than-sufficient punishment.

More jail time would be “unproductive,” he said.

A court is scheduled to hear an appeal Oct. 1 against the verdict on charges of hooliganism and spreading religious hate.

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