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Russian Court Denies Pussy Riot Member's Appeal

Pussy Riot Defendant Describes 'Kafkaesque' Triali
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January 16, 2013
A court in the Russian city of Berezniki has rejected an appeal by Maria Alyokhina, a jailed member of the Pussy Riot punk activist group. Alyokhina had asked the court to let her serve the rest of her prison sentence after her 5-year-old son turns 14. Speaking at the hearing, Alyokhina said her experience in prison had been similar to episodes from the novels of "Gogol, Kafka, and Orwell." (Reuters)

WATCH: Pussy Riot defendant describes her trial as "Kafkaesque."

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By RFE/RL
A court in the Russian city of Berezniki has turned down an appeal by jailed Pussy Riot member Maria Alyokhina.

She asked the court to let her serve the rest of her prison sentence after her 5-year-old son turns 14, saying their separation was harming his development.

But the judge rejected her appeal, saying the court that sentenced her last year had already taken into account her family situation.

Amnesty International strongly criticized the ruling.

"We are clearly deeply disappointed with the decision because basically it's a further travesty of justice in this case," Natalia Prilutskaya, a campaigner for Amnesty International's Russia Team, told RFE/RL from London.

"We think that the three girls shouldn't have been arrested, first of all, and they shouldn't have been prosecuted in a criminal procedure."

Alyokhina is one of three Pussy Riot members sentenced for an unauthorized protest in the Christ the Savior Cathedral in Moscow in February 2012.

The group staged a performance protesting the rule of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The three were convicted of "hooliganism motivated by religious hatred."

Alyokhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova are now serving two-year prison sentences.

A third member, Yekaterina Samutsevich, received a suspended sentence.

The sentences were widely criticized by the United States, the European Union, and many top entertainers.

'Prisoners Of Conscience'

Amnesty says that the trial of the Pussy Riot members was politically motivated.

"I would like to remind you that Amnesty International continues to consider Maria Alyokhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova to be prisoners of conscience," Prilutskaya said.

In a statement on January 16, Amnesty said Alyokhina and Tolokonnikova should be released, "immediately and unconditionally," while the suspended sentence of Samutsevich should be overturned.

Alyokhina told the court that while she wanted her sentence deferred, she still refused to plead guilty and that she had nothing to repent for.

With reporting by ITAR-TASS, Interfax, and AP

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