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Punk Band Members Claim Hunger Strike As Supporters Ask Patriarch For Forgiveness

Members of the radical feminist group Pussy Riot performing in support of detained opposition activists in December.
Supporters of the Russian female punk band Pussy Riot have appealed to the head of the Russian Orthodox Church to drop criminal charges against the group.

In an open letter on the social networking site LiveJournal on March 6, supporters called on Patriarch Kirill to use his moral authority to end the persecution of the group. Two members of Pussy Riot were arrested on March 3 after an attempt last month to perform a song in Moscow's Church of Christ the Savior protesting Vladimir Putin's presidential election bid.

A Moscow court has ordered the two women, Maria Alekhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, to remain in detention until April 24 on hooliganism charges.

The women have reportedly declared a hunger strike to protest the charges, which could carry a jail sentence of up to seven years.

With reporting by AFP