News / Europe

Court Refuses Petition of Pussy Riot Member

Members of the female punk band Members of the female punk band "Pussy Riot" (L-R) Yekaterina Samutsevich, Maria Alyokhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova sit in a glass-walled cage before a court hearing in Moscow October 10, 2012.
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Members of the female punk band
Members of the female punk band "Pussy Riot" (L-R) Yekaterina Samutsevich, Maria Alyokhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova sit in a glass-walled cage before a court hearing in Moscow October 10, 2012.
A court in the Russian region of Perm has refused a petition from jailed Pussy Riot member Maria Alyokhina to defer the rest of her two-year sentence for hooliganism until her child is older.

Judge Galina Yefremova rejected an appeal by jailed Pussy Riot band member Maria Alyokhina, who wanted to have her two-year sentence suspended. Alyokhina claims that her five-year-old son, Filipp, needs her because he is going through his formative years and that he cannot be without her.  Yefremova ruled that the court that sentenced Alyokhina had already taken the child into consideration when making its decision.

Alyokhina is currently serving her two-year-sentence in a penal colony near the town of Berezniki.

Alyokhina, along with band mate, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, was convicted of hooliganism motivated by religious hatred for performing a punk prayer against Russian President Vladimir Putin on the altar of Russia’s most prominent Orthodox church. The band members called on the Virgin Mary to deliver them from Putin.

The young ladies were protesting against the Orthodox church’s support for Putin during his run for an unprecedented third term as president. Both Alyokhina and Tolokonnikova received two-year sentences in penal colonies. Another band member received a suspended sentence.

Tolokonnikova’s husband, Peter Verzilov, traveled to Berezniki, to show his support for a suspended sentence.

He says he attended the court hearing because Alyokhina's son misses his mother and he needs her care and she cannot provide that much care in prison.

Alyokhina says her time in the prison camp has been like something out of a Franz Kafka or George Orwell novel. The 24-year-old says she has also received two formal reprimands for not waking up on time.

Alyokhina says she has tried to contest the reprimands, but no one can tell her how to take such action. She says that no one seems to know the procedures in her labor camp.

Alyokhina has had to be moved to a single-prison cell for her own protection due to tension with other prisoners.

The sentencing of the members of Pussy Riot has drawn protests across the globe. Critics say the band members’ sentences show that the Kremlin will not tolerate dissent. The Kremlin denies the claim.

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