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Moscow Court Extends Custody Of Jailed Punk Protesters

A Russian police officer detains a supporter of female punk band Pussy Riot outside the courtroom in Moscow on April 19.
MOSCOW -- A Moscow court has extended the pretrial detention of three female punk rockers arrested after a protest performance in Moscow's Christ the Savior Cathedral.

The three members of the Pussy Riot band were arrested after their group attempted to stage a performance against Prime Minister and President-elect Vladimir Putin inside the Orthodox church in February.

They face up to seven years in jail on charges of hooliganism.

Their original pretrial detention was to end on April 24. No date has been set for the trial.

Supporters of the band, including prominent artists, musicians and activists, tried to organize a protest event outside the court. Critics of the punk group were also at the site.

RFE/RL’s correspondent says there were scuffles between the two groups and that the police detained at least 30 people.

Lyudmila Alekseyeva, the head of Moscow's Helsinki Group, said the women did not deserve such lengthy detention and must be freed.

With reporting by AP and Interfax