Prosecutor wants 3-yr jail for Pussy Riot protesters
A state prosecutor demanded a three-year jail sentence for three women from the punk band Pussy Riot who stormed the altar of Moscow's main cathedral and sang a "punk prayer" denouncing President Vladimir Putin's close links to the Russian Orthodox Church.
The three had been charged with hooliganism motivated by religious hatred in a trial that has focused attention on a crackdown on dissent since Putin's return to the presidency in May.
Prosecutor Alexei Nikiforov did not press the court for the maximum seven-year sentence after Putin said Maria Alyokhina, 24, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, 22, and Yekaterina Samutsevich, 29, should not be judged too harshly.
But Nikiforov ignored pleas by the opposition and human rights groups not to seek jail terms over the protest in which the trio belted out a song on February 21 urging the Virgin Mary to rid Russia of Putin.