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
September 19, 2014 -- Updated 1049 GMT (1849 HKT)
British PM David Cameron has had the narrowest of political escapes.
September 19, 2014 -- Updated 0106 GMT (0906 HKT)
British journalist John Cantlie hadn't been seen in nearly two years. Now, he's the latest hostage to be paraded out by ISIS.
The burial leader. The hospital gatekeeper. The disease detective. All telling powerful, stories from West Africa.
September 18, 2014 -- Updated 2303 GMT (0703 HKT)
Alibaba's IPO is unlike anything investors have ever seen and could threaten other online retailers. Maggie Lake reports.
September 19, 2014 -- Updated 1226 GMT (2026 HKT)
Indian PM Narendra Modi has said al Qaeda will fail if it seeks to spread its terror network into his country.
September 18, 2014 -- Updated 1201 GMT (2001 HKT)
Put yourself in the shoes (and sixth-century black robes) of ISIS' Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the mysterious boss of the terror group.
September 19, 2014 -- Updated 1140 GMT (1940 HKT)
 Tennis Player Li Na attends the WTA Pre-Wimbledon Party as guests enjoy Ciroc Vodka presented by Dubai Duty Free at Kensington Roof Gardens on June 19, 2014 in London,
Asia's first grand slam singles champion Li Na has called time on her 15-year tennis career.
Jenson Button has some of quickest reactions ever shown at an advanced sports lab.
September 19, 2014 -- Updated 1124 GMT (1924 HKT)
Creative companies with quirky ideas find new lending models advantageous.
September 18, 2014 -- Updated 1409 GMT (2209 HKT)
Even death couldn't part two skeletons excavated from a lost chapel in an English county, found with their fingers entwined.
September 19, 2014 -- Updated 1007 GMT (1807 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