August 18, 2012 - 15:16 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - The White House on Friday, August 17 condemned the "disproportionate" two-year prison sentence a Russian judge imposed on members of the punk band Pussy Riot, found guilty of "hooliganism" for an event mocking Russian President Vladimir Putin.
"The United States is disappointed by the verdict, including the disproportionate sentences that were granted," spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters.
"While we understand the group's behavior was offensive to some, we have serious concerns about the way these young women have been treated by the "Russian judicial system," Earnest said. He did not use the band's name.
At the State Department, spokeswoman Victoria Nuland bluntly urged Russian authorities to review this case and ensure that the right to freedom of expression is upheld."
"The United States is concerned about both the verdict and the disproportionate sentences handed down by a Moscow court in the case against the members of the band Pussy Riot and the negative impact on freedom of expression in Russia," Nuland said in a written statement.
Three members of Pussy Riot were found guilty of hooliganism and sentenced to two years in jail in connection to an incident earlier this year in which they mocked Putin during a "punk prayer" in a Moscow cathedral, according to Yahoo! News.