Pussy Riot’s Alyokhina participates in latest parole hearing via video conference
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MOSCOW, July 24 (RAPSI) - Despite her belief that she would be entitled to participate in-person in her latest bid for release on parole, Pussy Riot member Maria Alyokhina was required to participate via video conference from a pretrial detention center, RAPSI reports live from the courtroom.
Alyokhina had wanted to attend the hearing, which is being presided over by a panel of three judges, but was unable to for reasons that remain unclear. The hearing was thus carried out via video conference.
Alyokhina herself – speaking from a pretrial center that she was transported to from her penal colony – raised the issue at the start of the hearing. Seeking the presiding judges’ recusal, Alyokhina interpreted the decision as one reflecting bias.
The judges retreated to consider Alyokhina’s request, but opted not to recuse themselves.
Alyokhina’s efforts were in fact an appeal of an earlier ruling. In April, her request for parole was denied by Mordovia's Zubovo-Polyansky Court, a decision upheld the following month by the Perm Region's Bereznikovsky Court.
Stanislav Volegov, a spokesman for the Federal Penitentiary Service in the Perm Territory, earlier told RIA Novosti that Alyokhina would attend the Perm Court hearing of her appeal against the rejection of her request for parole.
On July 12, attorney Irina Khrunova told RAPSI, that Alyokhina had been moved from the prison in Berezniki to a remand center in Solikamsk, the third largest city in Perm Territory. Then she was expected to be transferred to another prison in Nizhny Novgorod, the lawyer said.
"I can say one thing, Alyokhina will attend the parole hearing in Perm," Volegov said.
In February 2012, five young women wearing brightly colored balaclavas staged a punk rock prayer in Moscow's Christ the Savior Cathedral. 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 - Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Yekaterina Samutsevich - to two years in a prison settlement on charges of hooliganism.
In October 2012, the Moscow City Court suspended Samutsevich's sentence and released her immediately based on her new attorneys' argument that she had been seized by security guards prior to reaching the altar.
The sentences of Alyokhina and Tolokonnikova 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.
Alyokhina staged a hunger strike which lasted 11 days to protest against the fact the she was not allowed to attend the hearing into her parole request.