April 27, 2013 13:48

Pussy Riot's Nadezhda Tolokonnikova denied parole by Russian court

Russian court says band member has failed to 'repent' for her actions

Pussy Riot's Nadezhda Tolokonnikova denied parole by Russian court

Photo: PA

Pussy Riot member Nadezhda Tolokonnikova has been denied parole by a Russian court.

Tolokonnikova had been eligible for early release, says the BBC, but her request was turned down by the penal colony she is being held in because she has failed to "repent" for her actions.

The 23-year-old is currently being detained in a distant prison colony in Mordovia, a Russian region infamous for its high number of prison camps. She has been held there since October, serving a two-year sentence on charges of "hooliganism motivated by religious hatred".

She and two other members of Pussy Riot, Maria Alyokhina and Yekaterina Samutsevich, were found guilty in August last year after their now infamous "punk prayer" gig, when they performed a song criticising Vladimir Putin and the Russian Orthodox church in Moscow's Christ the Saviour Cathedral. Samutsevich was released in October (2012) following an appeal.

During her parole hearing, Tolokonnikova told the judge: "I have spent enough time in the prison camp. I've had enough of studying it. Six months is time enough." Her lawyer also argued that she should be released because her five-year-old daughter needed her, and presented an appeal signed by several human rights activists.

However, she was told she would not be allowed parole because of her failure to show repentance, and because she had also been reprimanded for refusing to go for a walk at a Moscow jail and failing to greet a prison official when she was in hospital in February of this year receiving treatment for severe headaches.

Earlier this month, Tolokonnikova had hinted she was not hopeful about her chances of being granted parole, stating: "For me, the parole hearing means nothing. In our case, the government wants us to recognise our guilt, which of course we won't do. I submitted the parole documents to show that they cannot break a person."

She also claimed she would not give up on political activism regardless of what happened, adding: "My life isn't going to change – there will be new key components because of the experience I've gathered here. The vectors of politics and art will continue the same."

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