Prison refuses to support Pussy Riot Tolokonnikova's parole bid
NIZHNY NOVGOROD, March 14 - RAPSI. A commission that assesses prison inmate behavior has decided against supporting Pussy Riot member Nadezhda Tolokonnikova's bid for parole, chairman of Mordovia's public monitoring committee Gennady Morozov told RIA Novosti.
Tolokonnikova is serving a two year prison sentence in Mordovia for the band's "punk prayer" at Moscow's Christ the Savior Cathedral.
The commission is declining to support Tolokonnikova's parole application because of prison rule violations and because she has shown no remorse. The prison's stand will be forwarded to the court, which will rule on the band member's parole application.
On March 7, Morozov said that the disciplinary commission had decided against penalizing Tolokonnikova. A review of her behavior began after guards claimed she went to the medical ward without permission.
Earlier, Tolokonnikova's lawyer, Irina Khrunova, announced that her client would be applying for parole. The application has already been sent to the Zubovo-Polyansky Court in Mordovia.
Khrunova told Kommersant newspaper that the application includes positive character references from the management of Tolokonnikova's residential block and from the prison, and that she has not been involved in any conflicts with prison officials or inmates.
"Furthermore, she has a young child, she is socially integrated and has been offered employment outside prison," Khrunova said.
In accordance with Russian legislation, convicts can apply for parole after serving half of their sentence. Tolokonnikova's sentence includes her detention before and during the trial.
Kommersant wrote earlier that the Moscow City Court's Presidium had received the parole application from the Pussy Riot defense team. Human rights commissioner Vladimir Lukin supports the parole effort.
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 Khamovniki District Court sentenced them to two years in a prison settlement for hooliganism.
On October 10, 2012, the Moscow City Court converted 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.