Obama 'disappointed' by Russia band verdict

6:00 PM, Aug 17, 2012   |    comments
Supporters of Russian punk-rock group Pussy Riot rally in Times Square on August 17, 2012 in New York City. A Russian judge sentenced the three members of the band to two years in prison after they performed an anti-Putin song in a Moscow cathedral.
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WASHINGTON - A White House spokesman says President Barack Obama is disappointed by the two-year prison sentence imposed on a punk band in Russia for protesting president Vladimir Putin.

The sentence handed down to the provocative band Pussy Riot follows a trial seen around the world as an emblem of Russia's intolerance of dissent.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest said Friday, "The United States is disappointed by the verdict, including the disproportionate sentences that were granted."

While the group's behavior was offensive to some, Earnest said, the Obama administration has "serious concerns about the way that these young women have been treated by the Russian judicial system."

The band members were arrested in March after performing a "punk prayer" to save Russia from Putin.

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