Pussy Riot's Tolokonnikova parole request submitted to court
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NIZHNY NOVGOROD, March 26 - RAPSI. Request for release on parole of Pussy Riot member Nadezhda Tolokonnikova who is serving a two-year sentence in a Mordovian prison for a 'punk prayer' at the Cathedral of Christ the Savior has been submitted to the Zubovo-Polyansky District Court in Mordovia, the court reported on Tuesday.
The documents have been submitted to the judge but the hearing has not yet been scheduled.
Chairman of Mordovia's public monitoring committee Gennady Morozov earlier told RIA Novosti that the commission which assesses prison inmate behavior had decided against supporting Tolokonnikova's bid for parole.
The commission did not support Tolokonnikova's request because she violated certain prison regulations and because they claim she has shown no remorse for her crime.
On March 7, Morozov said that the disciplinary commission had decided against penalizing Tolokonnikova. A review of her behavior was initiated after guards claimed she went to the medical ward without permission.
Tolokonnikova's lawyer Irina 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.
Tolokonnikova, along with 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 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.