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Pussy Riot Shortlisted For Person of Year Award

Feminist punk band Pussy Riot has been shortlisted for Time magazine's Person of the Year award.

"In a year when so many voices of liberty and dissent have suffered harsh retribution, the Russian feminist punk group Pussy Riot has paid a particularly steep price for provocative political expression," the influential magazine said on its website.

This year's nominees also include U.S. President Barack Obama, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Syrian leader Bashar Assad and U.S. Olympic swimming champion Michael Phelps.

The Pussy Riot group has been in the spotlight since performing a "punk prayer" in late February in Moscow's Christ the Savior Cathedral.

Three female band members were detained and convicted on hooliganism charges for their performance, which they called a political protest against Patriarch Kirill and President Vladimir Putin, in a case that prompted an outcry from celebrities and rights activists in Europe and beyond.

Two of the women are currently serving two-year jail sentences in prison colonies far from Moscow, while a third was let off with a suspended sentence on appeal.

Last year, Time named Tunisian fruit vendor Mohamed Bouazizi its person of the year for setting himself on fire in protest against the authoritarian regime in his country.

His desperate act ignited public protests that later evolved into the Arab Spring that caused profound political change across the Muslim world.

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