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Court rejects Pussy Riot member parole appeal

Second appeal by Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, jailed for hooliganism for anti-Putin song in Moscow cathedral, is rejected.

Last Modified: 26 Jul 2013 10:35
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Pussy Riot were convicted of 'hooliganism' for performing an anti-Putin song at Moscow's main cathedral [EPA]

A court in Russia has rejected a second appeal for parole by Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, a member of the female punk band Pussy Riot, who has been serving a two-year prison term for performing a song last year against President Vladimir Putin in Moscow's main Russian Orthodox cathedral.

Delivering the court's verdict on Friday, Valery Lityushkin, the judge, said: "The decision of the Zubova-Polyana district court from the 26th of April, 2013 which denied Nadezhda Tolokonnikova the release on parole to remain unchanged."

Representatives of the penal colony in the town of Saransk, where Tolokonnikova is serving her sentence for "hooliganism motivated by religious hatred", told the court that she should not be released because she never repented.

Tolokonnikova, who has already served a year-and-a-half in prison, said that she would never plead guilty because she did the right thing.

The band member, 23, was brought to the hearing at the Supreme Court of Mordovia, where she was asking the court to overturn a previous decision to grant her parole so she can look after her young daughter.

Tolokonnikova and two other band members, Maria Alyokhina and Yekaterina Samutsevich, were sentenced last August after a trial that was widely condemned abroad as part of a clampdown on dissent by Putin. 

Samutsevich, 30, was freed in October when her sentence was suspended on appeal after she argued that she had been prevented from taking part in the protest because a guard seized her.

On Wednesday, Alyokhina, 25, lost her appeal for parole in another court hearing in the city of Perm.

"To be fair, we do not hope that the Supreme Court of Mordovia will reach a decision radically different from the one we heard two days ago in Perm, because there are no objective political or any other reasons we deem required to have Nadya freed today," Tolokonnikova's husband Peter Verzilov told Reuters before the court hearing on Friday.

The case is seen as part of a wider crackdown on protests since Putin returned to the Kremlin for a third term in 2012.

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