Moscow (CNN) — A judge found three members of the Russian female punk rock band Pussy Riot guilty of hooliganism Friday for performing a song critical of President Vladimir Putin.
Judge Marina Sirovaya said the charges against the three women — Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Maria Alyokhina and Yekaterina Samutsevich — were proved by witnesses and the facts.
The Pussy Riot members were charged after screaming, “Mother Mary, please drive Putin away,” in a protest act in February inside Christ Savior Cathedral, one of Moscow’s grandest houses of worship.
Sirovaya is expected to hand down sentences against the women once the facts of the case have been read out, Russia’s state-run RIA Novosti news agency said.
The charge of hooliganism aimed at “inciting religious hatred” carries a potential sentence of up to seven years in prison.
The defendants ignored requests to stop their brief unscheduled protest performance, the court heard.
They were accused of offending the churchgoers present, through their actions, obscene language and their clothing, and showing a lack of respect for the rules of the Orthodox Church.
While their actions outraged many of Russia’s faithful, their trial prompted international concern about freedom of speech in Russia.