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Pussy Riot's Canadian connection used against band

Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Pussy Riot member, painted as foreign agent.

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Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, a member of female Russian punk band Pussy Riot, sits inside a defendants cage in a Moscow court during the hearings on the Pussy Riot case. (Alexander Nemenov/AFP/Getty Images)

It seems Nadezhda Tolokonnikova is being punished for being Canadian as well as one of three members of Russian activist rockers Pussy Riot.

Prosecutors showed Tolokonnikova's Canadian permanent residency and health-care cards as proof she's acting on behalf of a foreign government to bring down Russia.

Tolokonnikova's husband, Pyotr Verzilov, has dual citizenship and spent time in Canada as a teen.

Prosecutors in the Pussy Riot case also used his passport as evidence against Tolokonnikova.

“These are the documents that indicate tight relationship of one of the accused in Tolokonnikova’s case with the foreign state, the Canadian one. [She] had serious views on living not in Russia, but in other state,” the prosecutor said, according to The Globe and Mail.

In court, Tolokonnikova admitted that she has been to Canada, but denied that she had permanent residency.

More from GlobalPost: Pussy Riot found guilty of hooliganism

Verzilov told CBC News earlier this year Russian prosecutors attempt to portray dissidents as acting on behalf of foreign interests.

"In this sense, the slightest evidence or any connections that someone may be linked to the west is actively used in propaganda as evidence that this person is doing something very bad," he said.

Verzilov said the couple has no interests in leaving Russia for Canada.

He said while previous generations tried to fight Russia from outside its borders, they would rather bring down President Vladimir Putin from the inside.

"The best thing is to stay here and continue fighting," he said.

Some say Tolokonnikova is the "evil genius" behind Pussy Riot's antics, and that she corrupted her bandmates, The Guardian reported.

Often photographed, her beauty makes her the focal point for media.

She's also the mother of a young daughter and a philosophy student at Moscow State University.

In court, she tried to apologize for band's "punk prayer" protest in the Cathedral of Christ the Savior that resulted in a jail sentence.

"The words we spoke and our entire punk performance aimed to express our disapproval of a specific political event: the patriarch's support of Vladimir Putin, who has taken an authoritarian and anti-feminist course," she said, according to The Guardian. 

More from GlobalPost: An in-depth series examines Pussy Riot

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/europe/russia/120817/pussy-riot-canada-Nadezhda-Tolokonnikova%20