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Russia jails Pussy Riot members who invaded the pitch during FIFA World Cup final

All four were handed the maximum sentence possible for the charge

T2 Online Newsdesk 17 July 2018, 11:47 AM
Stewards drag one of the Pussy Riot members away as Croatia defender Dejan Lovren looks on

Stewards drag one of the Pussy Riot members away as Croatia defender Dejan Lovren looks on Image: AFP

The four Pussy Riot protesters who eluded security to run onto the pitch during the World Cup final between France and Croatia in Moscow have been sentenced to 15 days in jail.

The four, dressed in police uniform, ran onto the pitch at Moscow's Luzhniki stadium on Sunday and briefly halted play in the second half of the match between France and Croatia, watched by Russian President Vladimir Putin and world leaders, including French President Emmanuel Macron. The act was meant as a public protest against Putin's alleged 'dictator-like' reign.

A Moscow court sentenced Veronika Nikulshina, Olga Kuracheva, Olga Pakhtusova and Pyotr Verzilov to 15 days in police cells and also banned them from visiting sports events for three years.

They were found guilty of "grossly violating the rules for spectators' behaviour" and given the maximum punishment possible under the charge.

This won't be the first time Pussy Riot members will face jail terms for mounting protests against Putin. The group first came to the world's notice after performing an anti-Putin protest song in a central Moscow church in February 2012.

Three of the group's members were convicted of "hooliganism motivated by religious hatred" at a trial that attracted global media attention and drew protests from rights groups.

Group members Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina were released after serving 22 months of their two-year sentences. The other convicted member, Yekaterina Samutsevich, was given a suspended sentence.

Read more:

Why Pussy Riot's pitch invasion during FIFA World Cup 2018 final is such a big deal

Vladimir Putin and his umbrella steal the show at the World Cup 2018 presentation ceremony

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