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Maria Alyokhina waves as she is flanked by fellow Pussy Riot members Yekaterina Samutsevich (left) and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova (right) in the dock in Moscow in October.
Jailed Pussy Riot member Maria Alyokhina has been moved to a solitary cell in a step that prison authorities claim was taken at the prisoner's own request.

Alyokhina, 24, is serving a two-year sentence for a protest performance against President Vladimir Putin's rule at Moscow's main Russian Orthodox Cathedral.

Prison authorities at the penal colony in Perm, in the Urals, said Alyokhina asked to be moved to a single-person cell because of tensions with fellow inmates.

Alyokhina and two other members of the punk-activist collective were convicted in August of hooliganism motivated by religious hatred for their anti-Putin performance.

In court, they stressed that theirs was a political protest and not directed at religious faith, although they acknowledged cozy relations between the Kremlin and Orthodox Church elite were among their concerns.

Supporters said their trial was part of a crackdown on dissent.

Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, 23, is serving her two-year sentence in a penal colony in Mordovia.

Yekaterina Samutsevich, 30, was freed last month after an appeals court suspended her sentence.

Based on reporting by Reuters, Interfax, and BBC
Vladimir Kozlov looks out from a glass-walled cell during his trial in the city of Aqtau last month.
AQTAU, Kazakhstan -- Kazakhstan's Manghystau regional court has upheld the sentence imposed on Vladimir Kozlov, the leader of the unregistered Algha (Forward) opposition party.

He was sentenced to 7 1/2 years in prison last month for his role in a mass strike by oil workers in the country's west that ended in violence in December 2011.

During the unrest, police shot dead 17 people in the western towns of Zhanaozen and Shetpe.

Kazakh human rights defender Yevgeny Zhovtis was present at the court hearing on November 19 and confirmed to RFE/RL that Kozlov's prison sentence was upheld.

Kozlov, 52, insists the case against him is politically motivated as his opposition group is critical of the government and authoritarian President Nursultan Nazarbaev.

Last week, Human Rights Watch urged Kazakhstan to hold an impartial appeal hearing for Kozlov, calling his sentence "a blow to freedom of expression and political pluralism."

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"Watchdog" is a blog with a singular mission -- to monitor the latest developments concerning human rights, civil society, and press freedom. We'll pay particular attention to reports concerning countries in RFE/RL's broadcast region.

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