Pussy Riot's Maria Alyokhina refused parole
Thursday, 25 July 2013 12:49

Decision comes despite Amnesty International letter campaign involving Adele, U2, Sir Paul McCartney and Arcade Fire

Pussy Riot's Maria Alyokhina, jailed for a 40-second anti-Kremlin protest, has again been refused parole. The 25-year-old has already served more than half of her two-year prison sentence, and held an 11-day hunger strike last month.

Alyokhina's supporters had hoped for a positive result this week, following an Amnesty International letter campaign that involved Adele, U2, Sir Paul McCartney, Arcade Fire and Madonna. Although a district court had already denied the musician's parole, Russian officials set off rumours when they recently transferred Alyokhina from her Ural prison camp to a jail closer to Perm, site of the regional court. Another major Russian opposition figure, Alexei Navalny, was unexpectedly released last week.

"This decision is a further confirmation that the Russian authorities are uncompromising in their suppression of freedom of expression," said Denis Krivosheev, Amnesty International's deputy programme director for Europe and central Asia. "Maria Alyokhina and the other two punk singers shouldn't have been arrested in the first place."

Yet again, Alyokhina was prohibited from appearing at her own hearing, instead testifying by video link. This was a direct contradiction of one official's promise: "I can say one thing: Alyokhina will attend the parole hearing," a spokesman for the federal penitentiary service told the Russian Legal Information Agency on 12 July. Alyokhina, who has a five-year-old son, is now scheduled to remain in prison until March 2014. The same is true for her Pussy Riot band-mate, 23-year-old Nadezhda Tolokonnikova. A third member, Ekaterina Samutsevich, was freed last year.

All three women had been convicted of hooliganism motivated by religious hatred, following a brief "punk prayer" at one of Moscow's Russian Orthodox cathedrals. Earlier this month, some more of Pussy Riot's masked members released a video condemning corruption in the Russian oil industry. Comparing Vladimir Putin to an "ayatollah in Iran", they also criticised his refusal to support gay rights.

Alyokhina's lawyer, Irina Khrunova, said she plans to continue her appeal.

Sean Michaels

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source: http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/2013/jul/25/pussy-riot-maria-alyokhina-refused-parole

source: http://www.rusbg.com/en/pussy-riot-s-maria-alyokhina-refused-parole.html

 

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