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Appeal for Pussy Riot heard in Moscow

After being sentenced to two years in prison for hooliganism, members of the Russian band Pussy Riot will have their appeal heard in Moscow. The three women staged a controversial protest in a cathedral in February.

The appeals court will hear the case of the three women on Wednesday, where they will argue that they should not be imprisoned for the punk rock protest that attracted attention from around the world.

In February, the three women performed a song critical of Vladimir Putin - who would win Russia's presidential election a month later - inside a Russian Orthodox cathedral. They were convicted for inciting religious hatred.

The appeal of Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Maria Alyokhina and Yekaterina Samutsevich was scheduled to begin last week, but Samutsevich had asked the court for more time in order to change her defense lawyer.

Many see the verdict as politically motivated, as the band was critical of then-Prime Minister Putin. Rights groups from around the world have condemned the conviction.

mz/ kms(dpa, AP)