Madonna voiced hope Monday that three feminist Russian rockers on trial for performing a “punk prayer” against Vladimir Putin will be released soon. “Obviously I believe in freedom of speech and I’m against censorship, so I hope that the judge is lenient with them and that they are freed soon,” the pop star told The Associated Press during a concert tour of Russia.
Two weeks before Putin’s return to the presidency in a March election, five members of the Pussy Riot band staged their political protest in Moscow’s main cathedral, singing “Virgin Mary, drive Putin away!”
Three of them were arrested, and have spent five months in custody on charges of hooliganism. They face up to seven years in prison if convicted. International rights groups have called them prisoners of conscience, and leading musicians have called for their release. READ FULL STORY