MOSCOW, October 16 - RAPSI. Pussy Riot punk band members Maria Alyokhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, sentenced to two years in prison for disorderly conduct based on religious hatred, have again been denied the permission to serve their term in a Moscow pretrial detention center, their defense lawyer Mark Feigin told RAPSI on Monday.
Feigin added that he was unaware of the reasons behind the denial as he had yet to receive the document from the court.
“The girls wanted to stay in the detention center and work in the kitchen. I submitted their certificates in professional cookery to the court. But the motion was dismissed,” he said.
Tolokonnikova and Alyokhina filed a request pleading to be allowed to remain in the institution that they had been serving in. The request was turned down on October 10 as it was said there was no vacancies for them to remain as the detention center personnel.
In late February, five young women wearing brightly colored balaclavas performed a "punk-style" prayer at the altar of Moscow's Christ the Savior Cathedral. An edited video of their performance was posted on the Internet and caused a public outcry.
In the first instance, the Khamovnichesky District Court in Moscow sentenced three Pussy Riot members to two years in prison on August 17.
Later, the Moscow City Court commuted Pussy Riot member Yekaterina Samutsevich’s sentence from two years in a prison colony to immediate release with probation during the group’s appeal of its collective sentence for hooliganism motivated by religious enmity.
Samutsevich maintains that she was not one of the women seen performing on the altar in the video, as she had been apprehended by security before being able to join the others. The judge left the sentences of Tolokonnikova and Alyokhina unchanged, however.