Arrested after their controversial anti-Putin music performance in a Moscow cathedral, Pussy Riot members have joined the ranks of musicians who have fallen foul of the law because of their political stance.

Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Yekaterina Samutsevich and Maria Alyokhina, were arrested after they entered Moscow's Christ the Saviour Cathedral, climbed the altar and donned masks to sing their "punk prayer", a protest song imploring the Virgin Mary to "throw Putin out".

The trio has been convicted of hooliganism motivated by religious hatred - a verdict largely seen as politically motivated by international commentators.

In her last statement before the judge made his decision, Tolokonnikova, 22, said the charges against the group were a "political order for repression" and that their performance was an example of "opposition art" against Putin's "totalitarian-authoritarian system".

"Even though we are behind bars, we are freer than those people," she said. "We can say what we want, while they can only say what political censorship allows."

The list of politically prosecuted musician is sadly long - and growing.

One of the most famous is Fela Kuti, the creator of Afrobeat music. Educated in the UK, Fela went back to his native country, Nigeria, in the 1960s and built a name for himself with his controversial lyrics.

His songs calling for Nigerians to stand up for their rights against corruption and abuse of power led to arrests and government-sanctioned beatings.

He famously declared his sizable compound in Lagos an independent country and turned it in a meeting place for student activists as well as a sanctuary and clinic for the homeless.

In 1977 the army raided the compound, killing a number of residents and beating Fela almost to death.

Zimbabwean singer Thomas Mapfumo was also imprisoned for his revolutionary lyrics.

In 1979, the government of then Rhodesia (Zimbabwe) led by Ian Smith, threw Mapfumo in prison without charge, following the release of an album encouraging Rhodesians to revolt against white dominancy.

Mapfumo continued his criticism of the government of his homeland after the fall of the white regime and has frequently condemned the dictatorship of Robert Mugabe, Smith's successor. Mapfumo now lives in semi-exile in the US.

Chilean poet and singer Victor Jara died because of his political beliefs. A vocal supporter of Salvador Allende's socialist government, Jara was arrested after Augusto Pinochet's military coup in 1973.

Jara was taken to the Chile Stadium with thousands of alleged leftist prisoners where he was beaten, tortured, humiliated and finally shot dead after four days.

More recently, in Iran, musician Arya Aramnejad, 28, was sentenced to one year in jail for publicly defying regime censorship.

Aramnejad had posted on the internet pro-opposition songs denouncing President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's crackdown on the pro-democracy green movement in 2009.

Earlier this year, Moroccan rapper Mouad Belghouat, 24, nicknamed the "Rancorous One", was sentenced to one year in jail for insulting a police officer.

According to Human Right Watch, Belghouat, known for his songs criticisng the Moroccan monarchy, was actually jailed for posting a song video denouncing police corruption on YouTube.