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The Hunt for Pussy Riot: Russian Police Search for Two More Members of All-Girl Punk Rock Band

This past Friday, August 17, three members of Pussy Riot, a feminist, all-girl punk-rock band based in Moscow, were convicted of "hooliganism motivated by religious hatred." Each woman was sentenced to two years in prison.

What did the Pussy Riot ladies do to deserve this, you ask?

On February 21, four members of the band staged a performance at Moscow's orthodox Cathedral of Christ the Savior, motivated by their opposition to Russian President Vladimir Putin and the politics of the Russian Orthodox Church. Their event (for lack of a better word) was cut short by church security officials, and that was pretty much the end of that -- until March 3, when a video of the event appeared online.

Three of the four group members were arrested ASAP (mid-March) and charged with the aforementioned hooliganism, also known as article 213.2 of the Criminal Code. They are Maria Alyokhina, 24; Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, 22; and Yekaterina Samutsevich, 29.

Now it turns out Russian police are searching for two other members of the band who took part in the anti-Putin protest. The BBC says the current search is separate from the trial described above; police haven't named the new suspects.

In the meantime, however, the conviction has been widely criticized by Western governments (including the U.S., Germany and Sweden), and the band have been turned into a cause célèbre by pop culture big wigs, including Madonna, Paul McCartney (who told them to "stay strong"), Bjork and Sting.

Check out the offending 1.5 minutes that caused the Pussy Riot riot, and be sure to sound off on Pussy Riot's predicament:

Here's a look at Friday's conviction:

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Damian Fanelli
Damian Fanelli

Damian is Editor-in-Chief of Guitar World magazine. In past lives, he was GW’s managing editor and online managing editor. He's written liner notes for major-label releases, including Stevie Ray Vaughan's 'The Complete Epic Recordings Collection' (Sony Legacy) and has interviewed everyone from Yngwie Malmsteen to Kevin Bacon (with a few memorable Eric Clapton chats thrown into the mix). Damian, a former member of Brooklyn's The Gas House Gorillas (opens in new tab), was the sole guitarist in Mister Neutron (opens in new tab), a trio that toured the U.S. and released three albums (opens in new tab). He now plays in two NYC-area bands.