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Madonna courts new controversy in Russia

  • 9 Aug 2012
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SAINT PETERSBURG (AFP)
 has called on Russian authorities to release three members of all-girl punk band Pussy Riot

She said she prayed for the freedom of the Pussy Riot band members after prosecutors sought three years in a corrective labour facility on charges of hooliganism motivated by religious hatred.

The verdict will be handed down on August 17.

Critics say the criminal prosecution of the punk band is part of a widening campaign to silence the nascent opposition movement to strongman Putin who has dominated the country for the past decade.

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