Anti-Putin punks trial starts next week
Hearings in the trial of three young Russian women charged with hooliganism for staging an impromptu anti-Vladimir Putin concert in a Moscow church will start next week, a court said on Friday.
The preliminary hearings will take place next Friday at the Khamovnichesky district court in Moscow, the court said in a statement quoted by Russian news agencies.
"The criminal case is being examined by judge Marina Syrovaya who has set the date for the preliminary hearings on July 20," the court said.
Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Yekaterina Samutsevich and Maria Alekhina have been held in detention since their arrest in March after barging into the Church of Christ the Saviour in February to stage their controversial action.
They performed a "punk prayer" asking the Virgin Mary to get rid of Putin shortly before he was elected president.
Their stunt has infuriated the powerful Russian Orthodox Church right up to its influential Patriarch Kirill.
But their long stay in pre-trial detention has already become a rallying cause for the anti-Putin opposition. More than 100 Russian cultural celebrities last month signing an open letter urging their release.