Russian church urges Pussy Riot members to repent

MOSCOW (AP) - The Russian Orthodox Church is asking for clemency for three jailed members of the rock band Pussy Riot if they repent for their “punk prayer” for deliverance from President Vladimir Putin at Moscow’s main cathedral.

Sunday’s church statement comes a day before the women’s first appeal since they were convicted on hooliganism charges and sentenced to two years last month.

The church said that if the women make statements showing “penitence and reconsideration of their action,” they “shouldn’t be left unnoticed.”

Earlier this month, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said that keeping them in prison any longer would be “unproductive” _ a statement that encouraged hopes the appeals court could set them free. But skeptics pointed at the Kremlin’s ongoing crackdown on dissent, saying that their release would be unlikely.

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