Pussy Riot's Tolokonnikova seeks parole on grounds of having young child
MOSCOW, March 7 - RAPSI. Pussy Riot member Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, who is serving a two-year sentence for committing an act of hooliganism in Moscow's Christ the Savior Cathedral in February 2012, has appealed for an early release on parole on the grounds she has a young child, Kommersant newspaper writes.
Her lawyer Irina Khrunova said that several galleries, media outlets and theatres are ready to offer Tolokonnikova employment.
On Wednesday, Khrunova filed an early parole appeal with the Zubovo-Polyansky District Court of Mordovia, where her client is serving her sentence.
She told Kommersant that the appeal includes positive character references from the management of Tolokonnikova's residential block and prison, and that she has had no conflicts with the prison administration or inmates.
"Furthermore, she has a small child, she is sufficiently socially integrated and has been offered employment outside prison," Khrunova said.
In accordance with Russian legislation, convicts can appeal for an early release on parole after serving half their sentence. Tolokonnikova, whose sentence includes the duration of her pretrial detention, was entitled to file an appeal from March 2013.
However, her chances for parole could be limited by the penalties levied on her in prison, in particular for violating the prison routine.
An internal inspection of Tolokonnikova's conduct was launched last week because wardens claim that she went to a local healthcare point without asking permission.
Kommersant wrote on Wednesday that the Moscow City Court's Presidium had accepted for consideration the appeal filed by the Pussy Riot defense team against the two-year sentence handed down to two of the group's members. Human rights commissioner Vladimir Lukin has supported this appeal.
In late February 2012, five young women wearing brightly colored balaclavas staged a "punk-style" prayer in Moscow's Christ the Savior Cathedral. An edited video of their performance was posted on the Internet and caused a public outcry.
Pussy Riot members Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Maria Alyokhina and Yekaterina Samutsevich were arrested shortly thereafter. On August 17, 2012, the Khamovnichesky District Court in Moscow sentenced them to two years in a prison settlement for hooliganism.
On October 10, 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 was seized by security guards prior to reaching the altar and therefore did not actually take part in the punk prayer performance.
Alyokhina's and Tolokonnikova's sentences were upheld.