Transcript for Punk Band Sentencing in Russia
And, an international incident may be brewing tonight. Did the russian strongman vladimir putin finally go too far? Putin has long disregarded human rights, but today, a russian a rock group, to prison. For mocking putin in a song. The white house decided to weigh in, and here's abc's kirit rad radia. Reporter: Inside the courtroom, the rock trio defiantly rolled their eyes as the verdict was read, and they learned each was going to prison for two years. Convicted of "hooliganism driven by religious hatred." Their crime? Publicly challenging vladimir putin with this stunt, a rock protest at a moscow cathedral, where they begged for divine intervention to rid russia of its longtime leader. Outside the court -- outrage. We knew it before but this is a case when the first time we, we have political persecution. Reporter: Around the world, the trial of the punk band has mobilized support, with stars FROM STING, TO paul McCartney, to madonna speaking out. I think they have paid the price for this act, and I pray for their freedom. Reporter: Today was president obama, the white house saying it was disappointed with the ruling. But in russia, putin rules, not the people. His macho antics, from bare-chested horseback riding to dives for ancient treasure to judo fighting, all staged for the cameras. Hidden from the public eye? A million dollar home. But when putin ran for a third term this year, suddenly, something new. Opposition. Tens of thousands marched, an unprecedented challenge, unthinkable in russia just months before. Today's tough sentence of the thresicians clearly aimed at sending a message to the masses. And kirit radia, our moscow correspondent, is here now and joins us. And you were telling me, again, these young women were defiant. They laughed? Reporter: They were laughing in court, diane. What about putin himself? Does he react to the international outis rage? Reporter: He really relishes this role at his opposition to the west. He's mad the calculation, diane. If he can put three women in jail now, he can keep 10,000 protesters off the street time. He's just sending a message. Reporter: All about intimidation. Okay. Great to have you stateside. So good to see you.
This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.