Pussy Riot member in single cell after clash with other inmates

 

One of the jailed Pussy Riot punk protesters, Maria Alyokhina, has been moved to a single-person cell at her own request because of tensions with follow prisoners, Russia's federal penitentiary service said today.

Alyokhina, 24, is serving a two-year sentence for a raucous protest against President Vladimir Putin in Moscow's main Russian Orthodox cathedral in February. Activists said her trial, and that of two bandmates, was part of a crackdown on dissent.

"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 said.

The spokeswoman dismissed reports that Alyokhina had argued with inmates over religion at the Ural Mountains prison, some 715 miles north-east of Moscow. Pussy Riot's protest offended many members of Russia's Orthodox Church.

The spokeswoman said she had no information regarding a report on the Life News website that Alyokhina had received violent threats from cellmates. Alyokhina and two bandmates were convicted in August of hooliganism motivated by religious hatred for performing their "punk prayer", which the Russian Orthodox Church says is an attack on the church.

The women said the protest, in which they burst into Christ the Saviour Cathedral and called on the Virgin Mary to rid Russia of Mr Putin, was not motivated by hatred but was meant to mock church leaders' support for the President. Reuters

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