Anti-Putin girl band harassed in Russian jail

Member of the Russian 'Pussy Riot' rock group.

Two jailed members of a dissident all-female punk group say prison authorities have unfairly reprimanded them for bad behavior.

The pair, along with a third member of Pussy Riot, were detained after performing a song critical of President-elect Vladimir Putin and of the Russian Orthodox Church at Moscow's largest cathedral.

Yekaterina Samutsevich was reprimanded for not folding her bedcover properly, while Nadezhda Tolokonnikova was accused of keeping self-written notes in her cell.

Their lawyer, Nikolai Polozov, says he will appeal.

"We consider that the reprimands were issued unlawfully and constitute one more attempt by investigators to pressure the women into making confessions," he said.

Polozov says Samutsevich's cell was inspected in the evening as she was preparing to go to bed and had thrown back the covers.

According to him, prison rules do not bar inmates from writing and keeping notes.

Polozov says the reprimands could be used against his clients in the future.

"This tactic was already tried on Mikhail Khodorkovsky and Platon Lebedev," he said. "They were denied early release precisely on the basis of reprimands issued for minor offenses that were probably made up, too."

Pussy Riot's February performance at Christ the Savior Cathedral outraged many churchgoers. The head of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Kirill, has called for tough sentences.

But the harsh treatment of the three detained Pussy Riot members, two of whom have small children, has also sparked indignation among Russians, including Orthodox Christians.

A court in Moscow recently extended the trio's pretrial detention until June 24.

The women face up to seven years in prison on charges of hooliganism and inciting religious hatred.

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