Nadezhda Tolokonnikova (L), Yekaterina Samutsevich(C) and Maria Alyokhina, members of the female punk band "Pussy Riot", attend their trial in Moscow in 2012. File picture: Maxim Shemetov/Reuters

Paris — Europe's top human rights court has ruled that the Russian government violated the rights of the Pussy Riot punk collective during the group's 2012 protest inside a Moscow cathedral.

The European Court of Human Rights ruling Tuesday orders Russia to pay members of Pussy Riot more than 42,000 euros ($49 000). Pussy Riot, which employs outrageous stunts to draw attention to perceived abuses under Russian President Vladimir Putin, most recently claimed responsibility for four protesters who barged onto the field during the World Cup final in Moscow.

The protesters twice slipped into churches and pulled out instruments, briefly performing a song containing profanities that was intended to protest the Orthodox Church leader's endorsement of Putin - as they had earlier at another church.

They were later convicted of hooliganism and hate crimes and sentenced to two years.

AP