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Topless Femen Activists Face Up to 5 Years for Putin Protest

Police in Germany have filed criminal charges against five members of the radical Femen group who staged a topless protest against President Vladimir Putin on Monday during his visit to Hanover, a news report said Tuesday.

Two German nationals, one Russian and two Ukrainian, face criminal charges of insulting government officials and representatives of foreign states, which carries a maximum sentence of three years in prison, Interfax reported, citing Hannoversche Allgemeine.

The activists could face up to five years in prison if charged with slander for calling Putin a dictator. Putin was ambushed by the group of topless female activists when he and German Chancellor Angela Merkel were speaking. The activists had abusive statements written in English across their chests and backs and shouted insulting slogans at the president.

Putin later said that he liked the stunt, but that "if someone wants to debate political issues, it is better to do so with their clothes on," Interfax reported. His spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, called the stunt "typical hooliganism" and said the activists should be punished.

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