Member of Pussy Riot refused parole in Russia

Plight of the band has drawn international attention

A provincial court refused parole to Maria Alekhina, one of the jailed members of the punk band Pussy Riot, ignoring an appeal by 100 international musicians calling for her release.

The court in Perm rejected the parole appeal of Ms Alekhina, who spoke to the court via video link. She was convicted of hooliganism motivated by religious hatred after taking part in a “punk prayer” in Moscow’s main cathedral last year.

Ms Alekhina along with Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Ekaterina Samutsevich were jailed by a Moscow court last August. Ms Samutsevich was freed on appeal but the other two are not due for release until next March. Ms Tolokonnikova is due to have a parole hearing tomorrow in the region of Mordovia, where she is serving her sentence. Amnesty International has labelled the women prisoners of conscience.

“Your strength, bravery and fearlessness are an inspiration to us all,” said the letter to Ms Alekhina and Ms Tolokonnikova, signed by musicians including Sting, Bryan Adams, U2, Madonna, Sir Paul McCartney and Sir Elton John.

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