The closely watched verdict just came down in Russia, and (surprise) it is guilty. Judge just sentenced the three defendants to two years in prison, though with time served going back to March. Someone in the courtroom shouted “Shame! Shame!” in response. Some observers had expected a suspended sentence.

A little later, on camera, the three defendants were let out of their glass box in the courtroom, and led away in handcuffs—smiling. See my report on protests in response–many arrests from Moscow to New York City.  UPDATE:  New Pussy Riot single released and see cool video.

Former chess champ and anti-Putin activist Garry Kasparov had just been arrested outside the courtroom (see him in back of police van at upper left). Follow AFP’s live report here.

AP: “The judge said the three band members committed hooliganism driven by religious hatred and offending religious believers. The three were arrested in March after a guerrilla performance in Moscow’s main cathedral calling for the Virgin Mary to protect Russia against Vladimir Putin, who was elected to a new term as Russia’s president a few days later. They face a maximum seven years in prison. The sentence is to be handed down later Friday….

“Before Friday’s proceedings began, defense lawyer Nikolai Polozov said the women ‘hope for an acquittal but they are ready to continue to fight.’ There was a heavy police presence around the court building in central Moscow, where hundreds of protesters and band supporters were gathering.” Much more at the Guardian’s live-blog. 

Just today the IHT has a piece on worldwide protest under the title “We’re All Pussy Riot Now.” Protests are planned in dozens of cities. See the early report and a wild photo here. If you’ve somehow missed it, the performance that got them in trouble: