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Pussy Riot trial: Bomb threat, missing witness and abused defendants

Inside and outside the Moscow courtroom, strange things are happening.

The Russian Legal Information Agency (RAPSI), providing live updates on the Pussy Riot trial from the Moscow courtroom, published this shocking post at 11:33 am, Russian time:

"One of the lawyers reports that the court has received a bomb threat."

Ten minutes later:

"The bailiffs and police have cordoned off the court building. They have confirmed that the evacuation was caused by a bomb threat."

The courtroom emptied, but the three accused members of Pussy Riot were left inside, defense lawyer Nikolai Polozov said via Twitter, according to the Moscow Times.  

Court Press Secretary Daria Lyakh told novinite.com, "The caller said there was a bomb in the room and shouted 'Free Pussy Riot!'"

It's not the first time a Pussy Riot advocate made headlines. Last week, Russian artist Petr Pavlensky sewed his lips together in a show of solidarity.

After police searched the premises and declared the courtroom safe, the trial resumed.

At 2:16 pm from RAPSI:

"The next witness to be questioned disappeared – bailiffs failed to find her." 

The missing witness, Matilda Ivashchenko, was found, but then somehow went missing again. Twenty minutes later she was found again, but refused to testify. 

The trial resumed and ended in this confusing and bizarre manner. It's had a few Kafkaesque turns, but for now the situation remains Orwellian. However, Big Brother was not in country for the Pussy Riot trial. He was in London watching his favorite sport, Judo.

More From Global Post: Putin parades in London

Back in February, masked members of Pussy Riot disrupted a religious service at the Church of Christ the Savior in Moscow, preforming their anti-Putin "punk prayer" and singing, "Mother Mary please drive Putin away."

In March, three of the group's members, Maria Alyokhina, 24, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, 22, and Yekaterina Samutsevich, 29, were arrested. According to defense lawyers, they have been abused while in detention.

John Dalhuisen of Amnesty International told CNN that Pussy Riot is being disproportionately punished because they "dared to attack the two pillars of modern Russian establishment — the Kremlin and the Orthodox Church."

"While many may have found their act offensive," he added, "the sentence of up to seven years in prison they may expect on the charges of hooliganism is wildly out of all proportion." 

Here's a video of the crime:

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/europe/russia/120802/pussy-riot-trial-bomb-threat-missing-witness-and-abused-d