Putin defends 2-year jail sentence handed to Pussy Riot members

     Commending the two-year sentence handed to three members of the feminist band Pussy Riot, Russian President Vladimir Putin has said that the decision to arrest the punk rockers 'was right'. "It was right to arrest them, and it was right that the court took the decision that it did," Putin said on NTV channel. "One cannot undermine the moral foundations, break up the country. What would we be left with?" he added.

In February members of the band jumped on a cathedral's altar and performed what they called a "punk prayer," begging for divine intervention to rid Russia of Putin. Three band members, Maria Alyokhina, 24, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, 22, and Yekaterina Samutsevich, 30, were found guilty of 'hooliganism' motivated by 'religious hatred' in August this year. According to the report, Putin insisted he had exerted no pressure in the women's sentencing. "I had nothing to do with it. They wanted it, and they got it," the report quoted him, as saying.

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