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Worldwide Pussy Riot Rally Set for Oct. 1

Thousands will rally in support of the female punk band Pussy Riot in more than 100 cities around the world on Oct. 1 when a Moscow court is scheduled to hear the appeal of three members' two-year prison sentence for performing a "punk prayer" at a church.

Also, the European Parliament has nominated the band for a prize for "freedom of thought," and unconvicted band members have promised to hold an upcoming performance that will be more scandalous than the notorious one at Moscow's Christ the Savior Cathedral.

On Friday, a German member of the European Parliament nominated Pussy Riot for the annual Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought, Interfax reported citing European media.

Lawmaker Werner Shultz from the Greens–European Free Alliance said he had collected signatures from 40 parliamentarians required for the nomination.

But Lyudmila Alexeyeva, head of the Moscow Helsinki Group, said Pussy Riot should not have been nominated because their February performance was "controversial" and "condemned by many," she told Interfax. Some may view the nomination as a "gesture against Russian Orthodoxy," she said.

The list of contenders for the prize will be finalized by the end of this month, and the winner will be announced in October.

Meanwhile, two of the band's unconvicted members told Radio Liberty/Radio Free Europe in an interview broadcast Friday that the band was preparing a new performance.

The women, who introduced themselves as "Cat" and "Balaklava," didn't elaborate on the event's date, place or form, saying only that it "must get more publicity than the previous one" and that they were doing physical training for it.

On Sunday, a 62-year-old Russian emigre to Germany, who was declared mentally unsound, poured ink on an icon at Moscow's Christ the Savior Cathedral to protest the stance of the Russian Orthodox Church in the Pussy Riot trial, Interfax reported, citing police.

The band's lawyer, Mark Feigin, on Twitter on Sunday announced the worldwide rally to take place on the first day of next month.

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