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Russia police find Pussy Riot slogan at murder scene

By the CNN Wire Staff
updated 12:22 PM EDT, Thu August 30, 2012
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: Lawyers for Pussy Riot condemn the murders, say the band backed peaceful protest
  • Investigators: The words "Free Pussy Riot" are scrawled on a wall above two murder victims
  • The bodies are those of a 76-year-old woman and her daughter, investigators say
  • Three members of the punk band Pussy Riot were sentenced to prison terms this month

Moscow (CNN) -- Police in Russia are investigating the murder of two women found under a slogan backing the female punk rock band Pussy Riot, apparently written in the victims' blood, officials said Thursday.

The words "Free Pussy Riot" were scrawled in English on the apartment wall above the bodies of a 76-year-old woman and her 38-year-old daughter, investigators in Russia's Republic of Tatarstan said in a statement.

The two women, who shared a home, are thought to have died of numerous stab wounds between August 24 and 26 in the city of Kazan, the Tatarstan investigative committee said.

Their bodies were found Wednesday.

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An investigation has been launched to uncover the circumstances of the crime, as well as those responsible and their motive, the statement said.

The murder inquiry comes two weeks after a court in Moscow sentenced three members of Pussy Riot to two years' imprisonment, a conviction and verdict that prompted international condemnation.

The three women were found guilty of hooliganism for performing a song critical of President Vladimir Putin in one of the Russian Orthodox Church's most important cathedrals.

Representatives of the jailed band members rejected the supposed link between Pussy Riot and the double murder in Kazan.

"I just found out about the incident in Kazan. Either it's a terrible provocation...Or psychiatry," Violetta Volkova, a lawyer for Pussy Riot, tweeted.

Those responsible "need to be found and punished," she said.

Another lawyer for the band members, Nikolay Polozov, posted on Twitter: "It's weird that the media mention 'supporters of Pussy Riot' while commenting on the murder in Kazan. Dear journalists, please wait for official statements from Investigative committee."

"What happened in Kazan is terrible. Pussy Riot always supported peaceful protest," he added.

Whether the suspect or suspects in the Kazan murder are truly supporters of Pussy Riot remains unclear.

Two other members of the band fled Russia this week "because of the danger," according to the husband of one of the three sent to prison.

Public opinion in Russia is divided on the band, which specializes in provocative performances aimed at making political statements.

Kazan, in western Russia, is one of the country's larger cities, with more than a million inhabitants.

CNN's Alla Eshchenko contributed to this report.

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