ZUBOVA POLYANA (Mordovia), April 26 (RIA Novosti) – A Russian court on Friday rejected Pussy Riot member Nadezhda Tolokonnikova’s application for parole, a RAPSI legal news agency correspondent reported from the courtroom.
In Friday’s ruling, the judge in the republic of Mordovia in Russia’s Volga Federal District ruled in favor of the penitentiary authorities, who said Tolokonnikova did not deserve parole as she had not admitted her guilt and had a record of breaking the penal colony’s regulations.
The defense argued that Tolokonnikova has a small child, has had no conflicts with other convicts and would readily be employed in the event of her release.
But the judge’s ruling said: “Analysis of the convict’s conduct showed that she had not always observed the rules of conduct. She has two disciplinary penalties not yet removed from official records.”
Tolokonnikova’s defense will appeal the ruling, lawyer Irina Khrunova told RAPSI.
The Pussy Riot feminist punk band staged a protest performance in February 2012 against the Orthodox Church and its perceived support for the government. Their "punk prayer," a brief performance in downtown Moscow’s Christ the Savior Cathedral, provoked widespread outrage and landed several group members in jail on charges of hooliganism motivated by religious hatred after a high-profile court case that saw members of the opposition denounce the trial and two-year sentence as disproportionate to the crime.
A video of the band’s controversial performance posted online showed the five-girl group high-kicking at the altar to the accompaniment of the song titled “Holy S**t” in which they urged the Virgin Mary to “drive out” then-Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, who was then standing for re-election to the presidency in upcoming elections.
The song also poured scorn on the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Kirill, and believers.
Tolokonnikova and two other band members who were subsequently arrested for the protest pleaded not guilty to the charges of hooliganism motivated by religious hatred. A court sentenced the women to two years in jail, but later reduced one band member's punishment to a suspended sentence.