Skip to main content

Report: Russian judge denies parole for Pussy Riot member

By Greg Botelho, CNN
April 27, 2013 -- Updated 1413 GMT (2213 HKT)
Pussy Riot performing in a Russian cathedral.
Pussy Riot performing in a Russian cathedral.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, one of 3 arrested Pussy Riot members, had asked for parole
  • State news: A judge denies it, saying she broke prison rules and hasn't expressed regret
  • Pussy Riot staged a performance protesting Russia's leaders in 2012 in a Moscow church
  • Activists have decried the arrest and conviction of the punk band's members

(CNN) -- A member of the Russian punk band Pussy Riot -- convicted last summer after a protest performance inside a Moscow cathedral -- had her parole bid rejected Friday when a judge said she'd broken prison rules and never expressed regret, state news reported.

Nadezhda Tolokonnikova's lawyer argued that she should be freed because she has a small child, hadn't had conflicts with other inmates and would have a job once she was freed, reported RAPSI, an official news agency focused on legal matters.

But the judge in Mordovia, in central Russia, sided with prosecutors and took into account Tolokonnikova's behavior at a penal colony in Perm, about 1,000 kilometers (700 miles) east of Moscow.

"She had not always observed the rules of conduct," the judge ruled according to another state news agency, RIA Novosti. "She has two disciplinary penalties not yet removed from her record."

Irina Khrunova, Tolokonnikova's lawyer, told state news that her client will appeal Friday's ruling.

Tolokonnikova and another band member, Maria Alyokhina, both in their 20s, were sentenced in August for performing a song critical of President Vladimir Putin in one of the Russian Orthodox Church's most important cathedrals.

Yekaterina Samutsevich, a third member of the band, was sentenced at the same time. But she was freed from prison last October.

Footage of the brief but provocative protest action in February 2012 attracted worldwide attention after it was posted online.

It showed the band members, their faces shrouded by balaclavas, screaming "Mother Mary, please drive Putin away" inside Christ Savior Cathedral, outraging many of the Russia church's faithful

The three women, who were arrested shortly after the act, were all convicted of hooliganism. Two other members of the all-female group have fled Russia.

Human rights activists and celebrities alike rallied around Pussy Riot -- and railed at Russian authorities for going after women who, they said, were expressing their political views -- following the band members' arrest.

Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, for example, both issued reports earlier this year sharply criticizing Russia's record on freedom of expression. The heavy clampdown on government critics and activists, the groups said, has increased since Vladimir Putin returned to the presidency -- which happened a few months after the Pussy Riot protest act.

Putin subsequently denied his government employs "Stalinist elements" -- which he equated to a "personality cult and mass violation of law, reprisals, prison camps."

"But that doesn't mean we should have no discipline, no law and order -- and all people in Russia should be equal before the law."

That includes the women in Pussy Riot, Putin said.

"No one puts anyone in prison for political reasons, for their political views. They get punished for violating the law. Everybody should observe the law."

CNN's Joseph Netto contributed to this report.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
December 16, 2014 -- Updated 2245 GMT (0645 HKT)
Pakistan Taliban say the school attack was revenge for the killing of children in a military offensive -- but they are being pressed by defections to ISIS.
A group that claims it hacked Sony Pictures has posted a public threat against moviegoers who see Sony's "The Interview."
December 18, 2014 -- Updated 0243 GMT (1043 HKT)
The gunman behind the deadly siege in Sydney this week was not on a security watch list, and Australia's Prime Minister wants to know why.
December 18, 2014 -- Updated 0948 GMT (1748 HKT)
Bestselling author Marjorie Liu had set her sights on being a lawyer, but realized it wasn't what she wanted to do for the rest of her life.
December 16, 2014 -- Updated 2027 GMT (0427 HKT)
CNN's Matthew Chance looks into an HRW report saying Russia has "legalized discrimination against LGBT people."
December 16, 2014 -- Updated 0212 GMT (1012 HKT)
The Sydney siege has brought home some troubling truths to Australians. They are not immune to what are often called "lone-wolf" terror attacks.
December 16, 2014 -- Updated 0012 GMT (0812 HKT)
A social media campaign condemning Islamophobia under the hashtag #illridewithyou has taken off after Sydney hostage siege.
Bill Cosby has kept quiet as sexual assault allegations mounted against him, but his wife, Camille, finally spoke out in defense of her husband.
December 15, 2014 -- Updated 1144 GMT (1944 HKT)
China-bound AirAsia flight turns back to Bangkok after passenger throws water over crew member.
December 15, 2014 -- Updated 1026 GMT (1826 HKT)
It takes Nepalese eye doctor, Sanduk Ruit about five minutes to change someone's life.
December 16, 2014 -- Updated 1054 GMT (1854 HKT)
This epic journey crosses 13,000 kilometers, eight countries over 21 days. Find out where.
December 19, 2014 -- Updated 1431 GMT (2231 HKT)
Each day, CNN brings you an image capturing a moment to remember, defining the present in our changing world.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT