Published: Oct 01, 2012 12:02 AM EDT
Updated: Oct 01, 2012 6:31 AM EDT

MOSCOW (AP) - A Russian court is set to hear an appeal filed by three jailed members of the rock band Pussy Riot, who have been sentenced to two years for performing a "punk prayer" against President Vladimir Putin at Moscow's main cathedral.

A day before Monday's hearing, the Russian Orthodox Church said the rockers would deserve mercy if they offer repentance for their stunt. The move followed a statement by the Russian premier, who said that keeping them in prison any longer would be "unproductive."

The calls reflected an apparent desire by both the government and the church to put an end to the case, which has caused international outrage. It remained unclear whether the women would offer penitence sought by the church and how much leniency a court may show.