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Tuesday 23 September 2014

Russian court rejects Pussy Riot bid for release

Published 16/01/2013 | 15:05

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A RUSSIAN court has refused to release Pussy Riot band member Maria Alyokhina from prison where she is serving a two-year sentence for protesting in a Moscow cathedral.

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Jailed Pussy Riot punk band member Maria Alyokhina lost an appeal to a Russian court on Wednesday to be freed from prison and defer her sentence to care for her five-year-old son.



Alyokhina, 24, is serving a two-year sentence for a protest against President Vladimir Putin in Moscow's main cathedral.



She had asked the court to free her from the jail in the Ural Mountains to serve her sentence when her son was older.



"The court has ruled against granting the request," the judge is reported as saying. The court found that Alyokhina's family situation had been properly taken into account during her trial, which ended in August.

Alyokhina and two band mates were convicted of hooliganism motivated by religious hatred for their "punk prayer", which was criticised by Putin and cast by the Russian Orthodox Church as part of an attack on the country's main faith.



The refusal to let Alyokhina be with her child will stoke further ire from liberals incensed by a law he signed in December barring Americans from adopting Russian children, which critics say has made vulnerable orphans pawns to politics.



The United States and Europe have called the two-year Pussy Riot sentences excessive and Putin's opponents say they are part of a series of measures to punish dissent since he returned to the presidency last may after four years as prime minister.

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