MOSCOW (AP) — Three members of the punk band Pussy Riot are set to make their case before a Russian appeals court that they should not be imprisoned for their irreverent protest against President Vladimir Putin.
Their impromptu performance inside Moscow's main cathedral in February came shortly before Putin was elected to a third term. The three women were convicted in August of hooliganism motivated by religious hatred and sentenced to two years in prison.
The verdict was condemned in the U.S. and Europe, where it was seen as an illustration of Putin's intolerance of dissent.
Putin, however, recently said the court ruled correctly because "It is impermissible to undermine our moral foundations, moral values, to try to destroy the country."
The Moscow City Court is to begin hearing the appeal on Wednesday.