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ROUGH CUT - NO REPORTER NARRATION
STORY: A judge sentenced three members of Russian feminist punk band Pussy Riot to two years jail on Friday for staging a protest against President Vladimir Putin in a church, an act the judge called "blasphemous".
Supporters of the women say their case has put Putin's tolerance of dissent on trial. Several opposition figures were detained outside the courtroom while protesting in support of the women.
The women have support abroad, where their case has been taken up by a long list of celebrities including Madonna, Paul McCartney and Sting, but polls show few Russians sympathize with them.
Judge Marina Syrova found the women guilty of hooliganism motivated by religious hatred, describing them as blasphemers who had deliberately offended Russian Orthodox believers by storming the altar of Moscow's main cathedral in February to belt out a song deriding Putin.
Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, 22, Marina Alyokhina, 24, and Yekaterina Samutsevich, 30, stood watching in handcuffs in a glass courtroom cage.
The women say they were protesting against Putin's close ties with the church when they burst onto the altar in Moscow's golden domed Christ the Savior Cathedral wearing bright ski masks, tights and short skirts. State prosecutors had requested a three-year jail term.
"Tolokonnikova, Samutsevich and Alyokhina committed an act of hooliganism, a gross violation of public order showing obvious disrespect for society," the judge said.