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They have been in custody since they were arrested in February after performing the anti-Putin stunt in a Moscow church. The case has split Russians, with many supporting the women as part of a growing reaction against Mr. Putin. Others say they were disrespectful of the Russian Orthodox Church.

A verdict is expected this week.

Pop stars like Madonna, Pete Townshend of The Who and Neil Tennant of the Pet Shop Boys have rallied to their defense.

The protest from 5:30 to 8 p.m. Friday will feature local talent, including the bands Brenda, Mobius Strip and Sad Bones. They will play outside the embassy at 2650 Wisconsin Ave. NE.

• Call Embassy Row at 202/636-3297 or e-mail The column is published on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.