Mary McCartney/MPL Communications Ltd.Three members of the Russian female punk band ***** Riot, who were ******** in February for inciting "religious hatred" during a performance at an empty Moscow church, were found guilty in court in Friday and sentenced to two years in prison.
A number of artists have spoken out in support the group since their arrest, including Paul McCartney, who recently penned a letter to the trio and posted the message on his official website.
"I'm writing to show my support for you at this difficult time," he wrote. "I would like you to know that I very much hope the Russian authorities would support the principle of free speech for all their citizens and not feel that they have to punish you for your protest. Many people in the civilized world are allowed to voice their opinions and as long as they do not hurt anyone in doing so I believe this is the best way forward for all societies."
McCartney adds, "I hope you can stay strong and believe that I and many others like me who believe in free speech will do everything in our power to support you and the idea of artistic freedom.”
The maximum sentence the band could have received was seven years. Most observers expected them to receive three years.
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