THE jailing of three members of the Russian punk rock band Pussy Riot sparked a formal complaint from Australia over the ”disproportionate” two-year sentence.
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The Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, landed in Vladivostok last night to join representatives of 21 nations for the APEC summit.

She said the Australian embassy in Moscow had raised the plight of the feminist punk rockers last month shortly after their sentence was handed down.

The band members were jailed for ”hooliganism” after a provocative performance in a Moscow cathedral in February and for singing lyrics critical of the Russian President, Vladimir Putin.

Ms Gillard said she expected to speak to Mr Putin during the forum but declined to say whether she would raise the issue of the jailed band members.

Russia has been widely criticised in the West over the crackdown on freedom of expression during Mr Putin’s rule – first as president until he slipped into the job of prime minister, only to return to the presidency after elections in March.

Ms Gillard said she expected leaders to make progress reducing trade tariffs on environmental goods.

Daniel Flitton

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