Jailed Pussy Riot punk seeks parole

2013-03-07 13:01
One of the jailed members of the all-girl punk band Pussy Riot, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, looks on while sitting in a glass-walled cage in a court in Moscow. (File, AFP)

One of the jailed members of the all-girl punk band Pussy Riot, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, looks on while sitting in a glass-walled cage in a court in Moscow. (File, AFP)

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Moscow - Jailed Pussy Riot performer Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, serving a two-year sentence in a Russian prison camp, has asked to be released on parole, Russian media quoted her lawyer as saying on Thursday.

Tolokonnikova, aged 23, has asked a regional court that she be released on parole on several grounds, including the fact that she has a five-year-old daughter, lawyer Irina Khrunova told the Kommersant daily.

The prisoner "has every reason to be released soon", Khrunova said, saying Tolokonnikova had good character references, did not have conflicts in the prison camp, and had received job offers she could take up on her release.

The court is not due to hold a hearing on her parole request until April at the earliest, Khrunova said.

Under Russian law prisoners are eligible for parole when they have served half their sentences.

Tolokonnikova, a philosophy student, was sent to prison camp in October along with bandmate Maria Alyokhina, after being convicted of hooliganism motivated by religious hatred for singing a "punk prayer" in a Moscow cathedral protesting President Vladimir Putin's close links with the Russian Orthodox Church.

Postponement rejected

The women have been in custody since first being detained in March 2012, several weeks after the February cathedral protest.

A third bandmate, Yekaterina Samutsevich, was released with a suspended sentence because of her peripheral role in the performance.

The other jailed woman, Maria Alyokhina, aged 24, was recently refused a request to postpone her sentence until her 5-year-old son becomes a teenager.

She also has received two reprimands, which would affect her chances of parole, but nevertheless plans to petition for one next week, Khrunova said.

Supporters of Pussy Riot plan to hold a series of one-person pickets outside the prison service in Moscow on Friday, which is International Women's Day.

Read more on:    pussy riot  |  russia

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