A Moscow judge has ordered three members of the feminist punk band Pussy Riot—who were arrested in March 2012 after staging a political protest against Vladimir Putin— to remain in custody for the next six months. In a pre-trial hearing on Friday, prosecutors said they needed more time to prepare their case and requested an extension until January 2013. The women (Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, 23, Maria Alekhina, 24, and Yekaterina Samutsevich, 29) have already been in custody for nearly five months after they were arrested for their flash-mob-like performance of a "punk prayer" on the altar of Moscow's Christ the Savior Cathedral in February 2012, calling for divine intervention to stop then-Prime Minister Putin from being elected as president (seen in the video above). Charged with "hooliganism" and faced with a 2,800-page indictment, the women face up to seven years in prison if convicted.

Amnesty International has called the band members "prisoners of conscience", due to "the severity of the response of the Russian authorities." The case has attracted international attention for "revealing a crooked court system and the Russian Orthodox Church's outsized influence over the country's politics."

Pussy Riot jailed for six more months [The Guardian]