Two members of Pussy Riot flee Russia

Two members of Russia’s anti-Kremlin punk band Pussy Riot have fled the country to avoid prosecution for staging a protest against President Vladimir Putin at a church altar, the band said yesterday.

A Moscow court this month sentenced three members of the all-female band to two years in prison for staging a “punk prayer” at the Christ the Saviour Cathedral in February and calling on the Virgin Mary to rid Russia of Putin.

Police said they were searching for other members of the band.

“In regard to the pursuit, two of our members have successfully fled the country! They are recruiting foreign feminists to prepare new actions!,” a Twitter account called Pussy Riot Group said.

Defence lawyers of the convicted Pussy Riot members — Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Maria Alyokhina, and Yekaterina Samutsevich — are expected to appeal against their sentences.

Tolokonnikova’s husband, Pyotr Verzilov, said yesterday that the two members of the group who had fled Russia had taken part in the cathedral protest along with his wife.

“Since the Moscow police said they are searching for them, they will keep a low profile for now. They are in a safe place beyond the reach of the Russian police,” he said.

Asked if that meant a country which had no extradition agreement with Russia, Verzilov said: “Yes, that suggests that.”

“But you must remember that 12 or even 14 members who are still in Russia actively participate in the band’s work now, it’s a big collective,” he added.

— Reuters


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