The controversial Pussy Riot case has taken a disturbing new turn. The Guardian reports that Russian federal investigators have claimed that:
"The bodies of two women have been found beneath a message calling for the release of jailed members of the punk band Pussy Riot.... A 76-year-old and a 38-year-old woman were killed in the city of Kazan at the weekend. The words 'Free Pussy Riot', presumably written in blood, were found at the scene of the crime, on the walls of the flat,"
Supporters of the band- 3 members of whom were imprisoned for inciting religious hatred last month- have distanced themselves from the attack, claiming that it is likely an attempt to discredit there cause.
One of the bands lawyers, Nikolai Polozov, tweeted: "What happened in Kazan is horrible. Pussy Riot was always for nonviolent protest. This incident is either a horrendous provocation or [the work of] a psychopath."
"This is an attempt to strike at all supporters of the group," Pyotr Verzilov, Tolokonnikova's husband, told the news site Gazeta.ru.
Feelings are still running high in Russia over the affair, with an unwelcome international spotlight being cast on President Putin. The news last week that 2 of the band have escaped police capture, and are now campaigning from abroad has only served to entrench views on both sides.
** since writing this story there has been an update-- a university professor has confessed to the murders, and admitted that he wrote the message to distract authorities from the case. More news on this at The Moscow Times