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“They threatened to take away their children,” Mr. Polozov said after Monday’s hearing. “They try to find weak spots from any angle. Essentially, their position is to push them apart.”

Other members of the group’s support team denied that Samutsevich, who smiled and chatted with her fellow defendants in court, had been pressured. Tolokonnikova and Alekhina have young children; Samutsevich does not.

Pyotr Verzilov, Tolokonnikova’s husband, downplayed the legal move Monday, saying Samutsevich’s decision was simply caused by a change of mood.

Both the government and the church appear to want an end to the highly charged case.

The Russian Orthodox Church said Sunday the rockers would deserve mercy if they repent for their February stunt. Earlier, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said that keeping them in prison any longer would be “unproductive.”

Even some government loyalists have criticized the harsh sentence, voicing concern about the church’s interference in secular affairs and a growing repressive streak in the Kremlin’s policies.

The international support for the group, however, has also fostered irritation, being perceived among many Russians as foreign meddling in their justice system.

Dozens of supporters gathered outside the court building Monday in solidarity with the band, singing their songs. Five were later arrested for resisting police attempts to disperse them, according to RosUznik, a legal advocacy group.

But the band’s supporters were frequently drowned out by a larger group of mostly elderly Orthodox Christian activists who carried icons, sang hymns, prayed and meandered in a procession around the courthouse.

Other anti-band demonstrators carried inflatable female dolls in balaclavas to the court building to protest international groups bestowing awards on the band.