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Russian punk band Pussy Riot has chorus of celebrity support, including Madonna

Freya PetersenGlobalPost.com

Madonna has added her voice to a chorus of support for the Russian punk band Pussy Riot, whose three members were sentenced to a penal colony for two years for anti-Putin sentiments expressed during a recent Moscow show.

"I protest the conviction and sentencing of Pussy Riot to a penal colony for two years for a 40-second performance extolling their political opinions," Madonna said in a statement cited by Reuters.

Madonna, who according to The Guardian angered Russian authorities by voicing her support for Pussy Riot during a Moscow concert earlier this month, on Saturday called the two-year sentence "too harsh and in fact is inhumane."

"They've spent enough time in jail. I call on all of Russia to let Pussy Riot go free," she reportedly added.

The "material girl" joins such music celebrities as Paul McCartney, Sting, Bryan Adams, Moby, the Beastie Boys, Peter Gabriel, The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Sting, Bjork and Carrie Brownstein in showing support for Pussy Riot, whose members — Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, 22, Maria Alyokhina, 24, and Yekaterina Samutsevich, 30 — were convicted last week by a Russian court of hooliganism motivated by religious hatred.

The charge stemmed from their performance of a "punk prayer" in Moscow's Christ the Saviour Cathedral during which they called on the Virgin Mary to rid Russia of President Vladimir Putin.

According to Reuters, Moscow judge Marina Syrova on Friday rejected the womens' argument that they had no intention of offending Russian Orthodox believers, saying: "The girls' actions were sacrilegious, blasphemous and broke the church's rules." 

According to NBC, McCartney released a statement on his website Thursday encouraging "Nadya, Katya, and Masha" to "stay strong and believe that I and many others like me who believe in free speech will do everything in our power to support you and the idea of artistic freedom."

Black Keys drummer Patrick Carney vowed to not play a show in Russia in protest of Russia's move to "imprison innocent musicians for speaking their minds peacefully."

American actors Elijah Wood, Adrian Grenier, Chloe Seveigney and Alicia Silverstone have also expressed support, with Silverstone writing a letter to Putin asking him to ensure that Alyokhina would have vegan dietary options available to her in prison.

"I'm sure you can agree that everyone has the right to show compassion and refrain from hurting animals by being vegan," the vegan actress reportedly wrote.

Seveigney took part in demonstrations in New York on Thursday.

High-level diplomats have also weighed in.

EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said the sentences given to the women were "disproportionate" to the crime.

Russian tennis champion Martina Navratilova took to Twitter to express her support.