Material Girl defends punk trio as they start two year prison term
David Renshaw

14:58 20th August 2012

Madonna has hit out at the Russian government's decision to jail punk band Pussy Riot for two years last week.

Describing the decision as 'too harsh' and 'inhumane', Madonna issued a statement defending the band and urging more artists to protest against the decision.

"I protest the conviction and sentencing of Pussy Riot to a penal colony for two years for a 40-second performance extolling their political opinions," reads the statement.

Contiunuing: "Even if one disagrees with the location or how they chose to express themselves, the sentence is too harsh and in fact is inhumane. I call on all those who love freedom to condemn this unjust punishment. I urge artists around the world to speak up in protest against this travesty. They've spent enough time in jail. I call on all of Russia to let Pussy Riot go free."

Madonna previously showed her support for Pussy Riot during a Moscow gig in which she prayed for the group's freedom.

The Pussy Riot trial has picked up major traction after a number of high profile musicians called for Pussy Riot to be released from the jail they have awaited trial in since February. The trial has raised issues about human rights in Russia, especially after it was claimed the band members were denied food and water whilst in prison.

Paul McCartney, Kate Nash, Jarvis Cocker, Bjork and many more have all become involved in the case.

Vladimir Putin himself had also called for 'leniency' in the trial.

Photos:Whiskey, gunfire and a strip-tease: Madonna hits Hyde Park