Updated: Guilty Verdict, Protests Loom for Russian Punk Band Pussy Riot
Security is tight around a Moscow courthouse where three members of the feminist punk band Pussy Riot are to hear the verdict Friday in a trial that could send them to prison for seven years.
The case has attracted international attention as an emblem of Russia’s intolerance of dissent. The three women have been jailed since March after the band put on a brief guerrilla performance in Moscow’s main cathedral, a so-called punk prayer entreating the Virgin Mary to protect Russia from Vladimir Putin, who at the time was on the verge of winning a new term as Russian president.
The women, two of whom have young children, are charged with hooliganism connected to religious hatred. But the case is widely seen as a warning that authorities will tolerate opposition only under tightly controlled conditions.