Parole Denial for Pussy Riot Member Maria Alyokhina Upheld

Maria Alyokhina
Maria Alyokhina
 AFP/Getty Images

MOSCOW – An appeals court has upheld a previous decision to deny parole to Pussy Riot member Maria Alyokhina.

On July 24, an appeals court in Perm region, Siberia, considered Alyokhina’s appeal against a court decision made two months ago, under which the feminist punk rocker was denied parole. The earlier decision was upheld, and Alyokhina will have to serve the entire two-year term, to which she and another Pussy Riot member, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, were sentenced last August.

The third Pussy Riot musician, Yekaterina Samutsevich, who was initially given the same sentence for staging a "punk prayer" protest against president Vladimir Putin at Moscow’s Christ the Savior cathedral in February 2012, was released on probation last October.

Alyokhina wasn’t present in the courthouse, taking part in the hearing via videoconferencing from a jail in Solikamsk. However, she turned her back to the camera midway through the hearing, upon conferring with her lawyer.

“I announce that I pull out of the hearing because my rights are fundamentally violated here,” Alyokhina was quoted as saying on the Twitter account of art group Voina, to which Pussy Riot is linked. “I want to be either immediately taken back to the jail or brought to the courthouse to fully participate in the hearing.”

The court ignored her demand as it apparently ignored an Amnesty International open letter of support for Alyokhina and Tolokonnikova, signed by over 100 top international musicians, including Paul McCartney, Elton John, Madonna and U2, earlier this week.

Voina's Twitter account also quoted Alyokhina’s lawyer, Irina Khrunova, as saying that the administration of the prison in which she is serving her sentence tried to turn other inmates against her by screening a porno movie and claiming that Alyokhina starred in it.

On July 26, a similar appeal against the parole denial for Tolokonnikova is to be heard in Saransk, a city located 650 kilometers southeast of Moscow. According to reports, she is supposed to be present in the courthouse.

comments powered by Disqus