Madonna protests Pussy Riot jail time: 'The sentence is too harsh'

pussy-riot-madonna.jpgLast week, three members of Russian pop-punk band Pussy Riot were convicted of hooliganism motivated by religious hatred and sentenced to two years each in jail. The crime? Performing a 40-second "punk prayer" in an empty church. No property or persons were harmed during the performance, which was a protest against President Vladimir Putin and the Russian Orthodox Church.

The trial and sentencing have been highly scrutinized by worldwide media. Now, Madonna has come forward with a statement in support of the three women, Yekaterina Samutsevitch, Maria Alyokhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova.

"I protest the conviction and sentencing of Pussy Riot to a penal colony for two years for a 40 second performance extolling their political opinions," writes Madonna. "Even if one disagrees with the location or how they chose to express themselves, the sentence is too harsh and in fact is inhumane. I call on all those who love freedom to condemn this unjust punishment. I urge artists around the world to speak up in protest against this travesty. They've spent enough time in jail. I call on ALL of Russia to let Pussy Riot go free."

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