MOSCOW Jan 30 Russian punk rockers Pussy Riot
on Wednesday lost an appeal against an Internet ban on their
music videos, including one showing a protest song for which
three band members were jailed.
A Moscow City Court upheld a lower court's November decision
deeming the videos "extremist". Wednesday's ruling that meant
that four Pussy Riot videos were banned from the web.
The videos were still available on sites hosted outside
Russia, including the Google-owned YouTube.
The court rejected an appeal by one band member, Yekaterina
Samutsevich, who said the ban violated freedom of speech.
"I think it's illegal - that is obvious," Samutsevich, 30,
said outside the court. She said she would lodge a new appeal,
but the ruling meant the videos must be removed from Russian
Samutsevich and two bandmates were convicted of "hooliganism
motivated by religious hatred" for their "punk prayer" - which
called on the Virgin Mary to rid Russia of President Vladimir
Putin - in Christ the Saviour cathedral, where the Russian
Orthodox Church holds its main Easter and Christmas services.
She was freed in October when her sentence was suspended on
appeal, but Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina remain in
The band said they were protesting the close ties between
the government and the church, whose leader praised Putin during
his successful campaign for a March 2012 presidential election.
The lower court judge said the videos contained "words and
actions which humiliate various social groups based on their
religion" as well as calls for mutiny and "mass disorder" and
that they could ignite racial and religious hatred.
Kremlin critics called the jailing of Pussy Riot part of a
drive to silence dissent and the United States and other Western
countries called the punishment excessive.
Putin rejected the criticism, saying the feelings of Russian
Orthodox and other believers must be protected.