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Appeal successful for one Pussy Riot musician

One of the members of Pussy Riot jailed in Russia has been set free after an appeal. Her two band mates lost the appeal and must serve the remaining two years of their sentence for inciting religious hatred.

Yekaterina Samutsevich, pictured center above, was given a suspended sentence instead of jail time, but her band mates - Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina - had their sentences upheld.

The appeals court in Moscow heard the appeal of the three women on Wednesday.

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Surprise twist in Pussy Riot case

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.

Samutsevich had her sentence suspended because she didn't actually take part in the performance of the song inside the cathedral. Before the band started singing, she had already been ushered out of the cathedral by security guards.

The appeal of the Pussy Riot musicians was scheduled to begin last week, but Samutsevich had asked the court for more time in order to change her defense lawyer.

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

On Sunday, Putin said he supported the original conviction.

"You cannot undermine the fundamental morals and values to destroy the country," he said.

mz/kms (dpa, Reuters, AP)

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