At Tuesday's pretrial hearings for Pussy Riot, a Russian female punk band, the Russian government wasn't taking any chances. The courtyard was cordoned off, along with the street outside. And anyone holding a sign or chanting was thrown into a police bus.
The three band members, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Maria Alekhina, and Ekaterina Samutsevich, are being prosecuted for an unsanctioned "punk-prayer" called "Our Lady, chase Putin out." In January, they performed the so-called "prayer" for about half a minute in the Moscow Christ the Savior Cathedral before being booted by the church’s security guards.
Neither Mr. Verzilov nor his wife [Tolokonnikova] thought the authorities would react so harshly this time, he said. He took the couple’s 4-year-old daughter, Gera, to a hearing this month when it was rumored that the three women might be released. On Friday, he went without her.
“She understands what is happening,” he said. “She tells everyone that Putin put Mother in a cage and now we have to fight so that they’ll let her out.”