Three members of the Russian female punk band Pussy Riot, who were arrested in February for inciting "religious hatred" during a performance at an empty Moscow church, were found guilty in court in Friday and sentenced to two years in prison.
A number of artists spoke out in support the group since their arrest, including Madonna, who gave a shout-out to the trio during her concert in Moscow on August 7.
"I know there are many sides to every story and I mean no disrespect to the Church or the government, but I think these three girls...I think they have done something courageous,” she told the crowd. “I think they have paid the price for this act and I pray for their freedom...I know everyone in this auditorium, if you're here as my fan, feels they deserve the right to be free."
Even the White House has weighed in on the issue, releasing a statement that reads: “The United States is disappointed by the verdict including the disproportionate sentences that were granted. While we understand offensive to some, we have serious concerns about the way these young women have been treated by the Russian judicial system.”
The maximum sentence the band could have received was seven years. Most observers expected them to receive three years.
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