MOSCOW, September 17 - RAPSI. The request filed by convicted members of the Pussy Riot punk rock collective to continue serving their sentence in an isolation ward in Moscow instead of in prison will not be considered before their sentence takes effect, a source at the Federal Penitentiary Service told RIA Novosti Monday.
On February 21, 2012 five girls wearing brightly colored masks stormed the altar of Moscow's Christ the Savior Cathedral to perform a protest song entitled, "Holy Sh*t." Shortly thereafter, an edited video of the performance was uploaded on to the Internet and incited a major public outcry. In early August, the group's members Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Maria Alyokhina, and Yekaterina Samutsevich were convicted of disorderly conduct and sentenced to two years in prison.
Audiences worldwide have honed in on the group's controversial arrest and detention. The controversy surrounding their trial hinges on the competing interests of free speech and religious sanctity.
The women appealed their sentence with the Moscow City Court. Meanwhile, their attorney Mark Feygin told RAPSI on Sunday that all three members of the scandalous group have written to the ward's administration, requesting to continue serving their time at the isolation ward instead of being sent to prison. The request was filed due to the high profile nature of the case, as the negative propaganda aimed at demonizing the women may put them at risk in prison, the attorney said.
"Such a request can only be considered after the sentence comes into effect," the source said. He added that it is too early to state affirmatively where the women will serve their sentence.