MOSCOW, May 29 (RAPSI) – The presiding judge in Moscow City Court has upheld the verdict handed down to members of the feminist punk group Pussy Riot, sentenced to two years in prison for their controversial stunt in Moscow's Christ the Savior Cathedral, a statement on the court’s website says.
The supervisory appeal filed by attorney Irina Khrunova on behalf of Maria Alyokhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova has been dismissed, the statement says.
Under Russian law, a supervisory appeal – which is the final stage in the appeals process – can be brought against court decisions that have already entered into force. The standard appeal and the cassation appeal are options open to the defendant within 10 days of receiving the court decision.
In February 2012, five young women wearing brightly colored balaclavas staged a "punk-style" prayer against President Vladimir Putin in the Christ the Savior Cathedral in Moscow. An edited video of their performance was posted on the Internet and caused a public outcry.
In August 2012, the Khamovnichesky District Court in Moscow sentenced Alyokhina and two other Pussy Riot members – Tolokonnikova and Yekaterina Samutsevich – to two years in a prison settlement for hooliganism motivated by religious hatred.
In October 2012, the Moscow City Court changed Samutsevich's verdict to a suspended sentence and released her immediately, based on her new attorneys' argument that she had been seized by security guards before she reached the altar.
The sentences of Alyokhina and Tolokonnikova, who both have young children, were upheld.
In April 2013, the Zubova Polyana District Court in Mordovia rejected Tolokonnikova's request for parole.
Alyokhina’s request for parole was rejected by the Berezniki court on May 23.
Updated at 18:39 shortening headline, changing "instance" to "stage"