Wednesday, October 22, 2014


Russia

Jailed Pussy Riot Member's Parole Denied

Maria Alyokhina (file photo)
Maria Alyokhina (file photo)
By RFE/RL
BEREZNIKI, Russia -- A court in the Russian town of Berezniki has denied an early release on parole for jailed Pussy Riot member Maria Alyokhina.

The parole hearing resumed on May 23 without Alyokhina's participation.

A court-appointed lawyer represented Alyokhina at the session.

On May 22, Alyokhina refused to continue taking part via video link from a prison in the Perm region.

She demanded to be present in the Berezniki court, announced she was starting a hunger strike, and refused to allow her lawyers to participate in the hearing.

Alyokhina and another Pussy Riot member, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, are serving two-year jail sentences after being convicted of hooliganism.

The members of the feminist performance-art group were arrested after staging a protest against President Vladimir Putin in an Orthodox cathedral in Moscow in February 2012.

Meanwhile, music legend Paul McCartney has written a letter supporting the two jailed women.

An announcement with excerpts from his handwritten letters to Russian officials was placed on his official website.

The former Beatle wrote that "further incarceration for Maria [Alyokhina] will be harmful for her."

McCartney's letter also urges Russian authorities to release Tolokonnikova, whose parole was denied last month.

"I have had a long relationship with the Russian people," McCartney writes, "and, with this in mind, I am making the following request in a spirit of friendship for my many Russian acquaintances who, like me, believe in treating people -- all people, with compassion and kindness."

Based on reporting by RIA Novosti and Interfax

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