2013-03-11 10:02:00

Pussy Riot member asks for parole

Moscow, March 11, Interfax - Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, a member of the feminist punk group Pussy Riot, who is serving a two-year sentence in a penal colony in Mordovia for a performance in the Cathedral of Christ the Savior, has asked for parole, Kommersant reported.

On Wednesday, lawyer Irina Khrunova filed a request for parole for Tolokonnikova with the Zubovo-Polyansky District Court in Mordovia. Khrunova told the paper her client has "every reason for parole." Her parole request states that she is characterized positively both in her place of residence and in the penal colony and has no conflicts with the colon administration or other inmates.

"Besides, she has a young child, is socialized, and has a job waiting for her after her release," the lawyer said.

Gallery manager Marat Gelman, some theater studios, and the administration of Novaya Gazeta have expressed a wish to hire Tolokonnikova.

By law, convicts have a right to request parole after serving half of their sentences. Tolokonnikova became eligible for parole in March 2013.

On Friday, a Pussy Riot supporter said in a microblog that Tolokonnikova had been put in an isolation cell for 15 days. The microblog message cited the prison administration as claiming that Tolokonnikova had walked through the jail premises unescorted and that this was the reason for penalty.

"The only purpose of Nadya's detention in a punishment cell was to deprive her of the right to parole on the last working day before the submission of the [parole] appeal to court," the message said.

On February 21, 2012, three Pussy Riot performers wearing balaclavas sang a song at Moscow's Cathedral of Christ the Savior that targeted Vladimir Putin, who was then running for his third presidential term.

Tolokonnikova, Maria Alyokina and Yekaterina Samutsevich were later arrested on "hooliganism" charges, which they refused to admit, claiming that that the performance, which infuriated worshipers, had been a political act and that they had had no intention to offend anyone's religious feelings.

On August 17, the court of one of Moscow's districts sentenced the three young women to two years in prison. On October 10, the Moscow City Court upheld the sentences for Tolokonnikova and Alyokhina but changed the sentence for Samutsevich, releasing her.