Russia court rejects appeal by member of feminist rock group Pussy Riot

Russia court rejects appeal by member of feminist rock group Pussy Riot

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[JURIST] A regional court in Russia on Wednesday denied an appeal by Maria Alekhina, a member of the feminist rock band Pussy Riot [RAPSI backgrounder; JURIST news archive]. Alekhina filed the appeal after a court denied her parole [JURIST report] in May. Alekhina and her fellow band mates, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Yekaterina Samutsevic, were sentenced [JURIST report] to two years in prison for “hooliganism” following the band’s February 2012 performance of a protest song titled “Mother of God drive Putin away.” The song was performed at a sacred Russian Orthodox Church, Christ the Savior Cathedral, in Moscow and the court held that the performance was driven by religious hatred. While Samutsevich was released on probation [JURIST report] in October of 2012 because police removed her from the Cathedral before she could actually participate in the performance, Tolokonnikova was also denied parole in May. The court will hear Tolokonnikova’s appeal [RT report] on Friday.

The imprisonment of members of Pussy Riot has generated significant international attention. On Monday Amnesty International published a letter [text, PDF] signed by more than 100 musicians, including U2, Adele, Paul McCartney and Madonna, calling for the release of the remaining members of Pussy Riot. In February, the band filed a complaint [JURIST report] with the European Court of Human Rights [official website] challenging their conviction. In January a Russian court denied [JURIST report] the band’s appeal of an Internet ban on the group’s videos. In October Alekhina and Tolokonnikova were transferred [JURIST report] to separate regional prisons, both of which are generally reserved for dangerous criminals.