MOSCOW (AFP) - A Moscow court on Friday handed two-year jail terms to three feminist punk rockers who infuriated the Kremlin and drew world attention by ridiculing President Vladimir Putin in Russia’s main church.

Judge Marina Syrova read her sentence after finding the band members Maria Alyokhina, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Yekaterina Samutsevich guilty of “hooliganism motivated by religious hatred” for their February 21 performance.

“Considering the nature and degree of danger posed by what was done, the defendants’ correction is possible only through an actual punishment,” Syrova told a packed Moscow court room.

She then assigned each of the three women two years of corrective labour in a general penal colony, the harshest conditions possible for first-time female offenders.

The prosecution had sought a three-year sentence.

The judge said she took mitigating circumstances into account, including the fact that both Alyokhina and Tolokonnikova had young children.

Putin had said at the start of the month that he strongly disapproved of the women’s actions while suggesting they should not receive the full seven-year sentence possible.

“I do not think that they should be judged too severely,” he said while on a visit to London.