Pussy Riot pair sue Russia over imprisonment

Maria Alyokhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova in Washington DC, May 2013 Maria Alyokhina (L) and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova were sentenced to two years in prison for hooliganism

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Two members of the feminist group, Pussy Riot, are suing the Russian government over their imprisonment for a protest in a Moscow cathedral.

Maria Alyokhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova say their prosecutions amounted to torture.

They have filed a case at the European Court of Human Rights against Russia, seeking compensation.

The pair are demanding 120,000 euros (£95,000) each in damages, plus 10,000 euros (£8,000) court costs.

Tolokonnikov's father, Andrey, said the pair should have asked for greater compensation.

"What can I say? Good girls! But, in my opinion, the requested amount is too small," he said.

"They should have requested 250m euros, not 250,000 euros," he told the popular Russian newspaper Moskovskiy Komsomolets.

Pussy Riot member Nadezhda Tolokonnikova Nadezhda Tolokonnikova at a court hearing in July 2013. She served 21 months in detention.

Alyokhina and Tolokonnikova were among five Pussy Riot members who donned balaclavas in February 2012 and tried to perform their song Mother of God, Drive Putin Out, in the Christ the Saviour Cathedral, near the Kremlin.

The performance was interrupted by staff at the cathedral and the pair were arrested along with a third member of the group.

Alyokhina and Tolokonnikova were sentenced to two years in prison each after being convicted of hooliganism.

They both served 21 months in prison and pre-trial detention.

Their story was covered widely, and they were viewed sympathetically in western countries.

But their actions were seen as blasphemous by many Russians, and were condemned by the Orthodox Church.

The two Pussy Riot members opened their action at the ECHR in June 2012, while their own cases in Russia were still ongoing.

They argued that their detention and trial had violated European Convention of Human Rights articles which prohibit torture and guarantee freedom of expression, security and liberty, and a fair trial.

Russia is a signatory to the convention.

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