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Hackers target website of Russian court that jailed Pussy Riot

Reuters has reported that the website of the Moscow’s Khamovniki district court hamovnichesky.msk.sudrf.ru/ was hacked on Tuesday.

The court hit worldwide headlines when it convicted each of the three members of punk band Pussy Riot to two years in prison for recently singing out a profanity laced anti Kremlin song inside a cathedral.  The high profile trial ended on Friday with two year sentences for the three band members Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, 22, Marina Alyokhina, 24 and Yekaterina Samutsevich, 30.  They were convicted of hooliganism motivated by religious hatred, with the judge saying the band had deliberately offended Russian Orthodox believers when they stormed the alter of Moscow’s main cathedral in February.  They had sung a “punk prayer” which was offensive by urging the Virgin Mary to rid Russia of Putin.

The site was hacked when an appeal for the trio’s release was posted on the site as well as a slogan denouncing President Vladimir Putin.  Local media reported that a video clip of the one the band’s latest anti-Putin songs and a slip by Bulgarian singer Azis was also posted in the hack attack, claimed by Anonymous Russia.  The group claims to be affiliated with hacking activist group Anonymous.

This latest action comes amid a storm of criticism of the sentences given to the punk bank, with Western governments and artists stating they regard the sentences to be highly disproportionate.  The United States and the European Union have both called the sentences disproportionate, with Washington urging the Russian authorities to “review” the case.  Additionally as well as Human Rights groups, a raft of famous musicians and artists, including most notably Madonna and Paul McCartney have criticised the trial and subsequent sentences.  However, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has been dismissive of Western criticism of the sentences, saying people should not “go into hysterics” about the case.

The hacked items were removed and the site operating normally by noon (0800 GMT) but it is thought that the hacked material was on public view for several hours on the Tuesday morning.

A spokesperson for the court, Dara Lyakh, said a department of the Supreme Court had asked federal investigators to look into the hacking attack.

Ilea Yashin, an opposition activist posted a screenshot on Twitter, which showed the court’s web page topped by an inscription reading “Putin’s thieving gang is plundering our country!  Wake up, comrades!”  Another caption called for the release of the jailed trio.

In making their protest, the band members have stated their aim had been to criticise the close ties between the state and the dominant Russian Orthodox Church, whose leader has been visible and vocal in offering Putin support in the run up to his re-election to presidency in March after a term of four years as prime minister.

Though there has been international condemnation of the sentences, opinion polls within Russia suggest few have sympathy with Pussy Riot and even support from local musicians is considerably muted.

On Monday, Russian police announced they were still searching for other members of Pussy Riot.

Source: http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/08/21/us-russia-pussyriot-court-idUSBRE87K0LS20120821?feedType=RSS&feedName=technologyNews&utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+reuters%2FtechnologyNews+%28Reuters+Technology+News%29&utm_content=Google+Reader