Jailed Pussy Riot Member Moved To Solitary Confinement: Reports

11/23/2012 6:43 PM ET

Maria Alyokhina, one of the two jailed members of the feminist punk band Pussy Riot, has been placed in solitary confinement for the next three months for her own protection because of tension with other inmates, Russian media reported Friday.

Russian media quoted her lawyer Irina Khrunova as saying that Alyokhina was moved to a single-cell at the Berezniki penal colony, east of Moscow, after a conflict with other inmates at the facility. Prison officials said the transfer was made after at Alyokhina’s own request.

“Some tensions arose in relationships and, apparently, to prevent this situation from escalating, she decided to submit a request to the prison leadership and they moved her to a one-person cell,” a prison service spokeswoman was quoted as saying in a statement.

Alyokhina and two other Pussy Riot members, namely Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Yekaterina Samutsevich, were convicted in August for singing a “punk prayer” derogatory to President Vladimir Putin at Moscow’s main cathedral nine months ago.

The trio were charged with hooliganism motivated by religious hatred or hostility for storming the altar of Christ the Saviour Cathedral on February 21, and singing a song imploring Virgin Mary to “throw Putin out.”

The incident happened amidst mass protests against Putin’s plans to run for the Presidency for a third time. Putin, who was the Prime Minister when the incident occurred, subsequently emerged victorious in the March Presidential elections. He had served as President from 2000-2008 before becoming the Prime Minister.

he three women had expressed willingness at the opening session of their trial in July to apologize for the pain caused to the believers by their performance at the cathedral. They also insisted that their actions were to protest against the open backing of Putin’s election campaign by Patriarch Kirill, head of the Russian Orthodox Church. But each of them were subsequently sentenced to two years in prison.

The trio later appealed against their sentence. But Alyokhina and Tolokonnikova lost their appeal against the sentence on October 10. Nevertheless, Samutsevich was freed with a suspended jail sentence. Tolokonnikova is currently serving out her sentence in Mordovia.

Their case had evoked divided response within Russia, with many believing that the charges brought against the three woman are politically-motivated. Rights groups say that their harsh treatment is indicative of the Russian government’s firm stand against dissidents.

by RTT Staff Writer

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