Pussy Riot Member Maria Alekhina's Appeal Denied

Pussy Riot Member Maria Alekhina's Appeal Denied
Last year, things seemed to be looking up for the incarcerated members of Russian political punk group Pussy Riot. First Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev called for their release, and then Yekaterina Samutsevich had her sentence suspended. Unfortunately, it doesn't look as if her bandmate Maria Alekhina will be quite so lucky, since she just lost an appeal to defer her two-year prison sentence.

Alekhina appealed for her release on the grounds that she needed to look after her five-year-old son, who is currently under her mother's care. Unfortunately for Alekhina, the city court in Berezniki said that this had already been taken into account during her intial sentencing and rejected the appeal.

Amnesty International representative David Diaz-Jogeix issued the following statement in response the court's decision:

Today's court ruling is a further travesty of justice. The three Pussy Riot singers should not have been prosecuted in the first place. Today's decision has proven again that the Russian authorities are uncompromising in their suppression of freedom of expression.

Maria Alekhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova should be released, immediately and unconditionally, while the suspended sentence of [Yekaterina] Samutsevich should be overturned.

Today's verdict is in line with the suppressive policies of the Russian authorities, stifling dissent in any form

For one stunt, clearly within their right to freedom of expression, the three punk singers had to endure months of humiliation and hardship in detention — something that continues for Maria Alekhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova.

This all stems from Pussy Riot's protest performance at Moscow's Christ the Savior Cathedral last February. Three of the members were jailed, and Alekhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova are still behind bars. A documentary about their plight is due to premiere this month at Sundance.