Paul McCartney Sends Support To Pussy Riot Band Members, Urges Group To 'Stay Strong'

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FILE -This Monday March 17, 2008 file photo shows Paul McCartney, 65, leaving the central London's Royal Courts of Justice, following the announcement of the judgment of his divorce with Heather Mills. On Tuesday, July 24, 2012, British prosecutors announced charges against eight people alleged to have been involved in a phone hacking scheme with more than 600 targets. Some of the prominent alleged victims of the phone hacking are thought to have included, Paul McCartney, Heather Mills, Angelina
FILE -This Monday March 17, 2008 file photo shows Paul McCartney, 65, leaving the central London's Royal Courts of Justice, following the announcement of the judgment of his divorce with Heather Mills. On Tuesday, July 24, 2012, British prosecutors announced charges against eight people alleged to have been involved in a phone hacking scheme with more than 600 targets. Some of the prominent alleged victims of the phone hacking are thought to have included, Paul McCartney, Heather Mills, Angelina

LONDON _ Paul McCartney has sent support to a Russian punk band whose members face prison for a stunt against President Vladimir Putin.

In a letter released Thursday, the former Beatle urged three members of all-female band Pussy Riot to "stay strong'' and called on authorities to allow them freedom of speech.

McCartney said that "I and many others like me who believe in free speech will do everything in our power to support you and the idea of artistic freedom.''

The band members have been in jail for more than five months because of an anti-Putin prank in Moscow's main cathedral, and face a maximum seven years in jail.

Celebrities including Madonna and Bjork have called for them to be freed.

A judge is due to rule on their case Friday.

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