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Court denies Pussy Riot convict parole

Published: 8:08AM Saturday April 27, 2013 Source: Reuters

A Russian court refused to release from prison one of two jailed members of the Pussy Riot punk band so that she can look after her young daughter.

The court on Friday rejected Nadezhda Tolokonnikova's appeal for parole eight months after she was handed a two-year prison sentence for the band's performance of a "punk prayer" in Moscow's main Russian Orthodox cathedral.

Tolokonnikova, 23, has been serving her sentence for "hooliganism motivated by religious hatred" in a prison colony in central Russia, about 550 km (350 miles) southeast of Moscow.

"I've spent enough time in the prison colony. I've had enough of studying it. Half a year is long enough," Tolokonnikova, a philosophy student, told the judge at the parole hearing, the RAPSI legal news agency reported.

She complained of having frequent headaches in jail in Mordovia, a region that has a large number of prisons.

Her lawyer, Irina Khrunova, said Tolokonnikova's five-year-old daughter Gera needed her mother.

The judge said Tolokonnikova's parental status had been taken into account when she was sentenced - prosecutors had asked for three years - and pointed to two reprimands she has received as evidence her conduct has not been sufficiently "corrected", RAPSI reported.

Tolokonnikova and two other band members, Maria Alyokhina and Yekaterina Samutsevich, were sentenced last August after a trial that was widely condemned abroad as part of a clampdown on dissent by President Vladimir Putin.

Performers such as Madonna, Sting and former Beatle Paul McCartney offered their support for Pussy Riot last year.

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