No penalty for prison rules violation for Pussy Riot's Tolokonnikova
NIZHNY NOVGOROD, March 7 - RAPSI. The disciplinary commission has decided against penalizing Pussy Riot member Nadezhda Tolokonnikova who is serving a two-year sentence in a Mordovian prison for a 'punk prayer' at the Cathedral of Christ the Savior, Gennady Morozov, Chairman of the Mordovian Public Supervisory Commission, told RIA Novosti on Friday.
An examination of Tolokonnikova's behavior began last week after guards claimed she went to the medical ward without permission.
Earlier, Tolokonnikova's lawyer, Irina Khrunova, announced that her client would be applying for parole. The application has already been sent to the Zubovo-Polyansky Court of Mordovia.
Khrunova told Kommersant newspaper that the appeal includes positive character references from the management of Tolokonnikova's residential block and from the prison, and that she has not been involved in any conflicts with prison officials or inmates.
"Furthermore, she has a young child, she is socially integrated and has been offered employment outside prison," Khrunova said.
In accordance with Russian legislation, convicts can apply for parole after serving half of their sentence. Tolokonnikova, whose sentence includes her detention before and during the trial, is entitled to apply for parole beginning this month.
However, her chances for parole could be limited by the penalties levied on her in prison, in particular for violating the prison regulations.
Kommersant wrote on Wednesday that the Moscow City Court's Presidium had received the parole application from the Pussy Riot defense team. Human rights commissioner Vladimir Lukin supports the parole effort.
In late February 2012, five young women wearing brightly colored balaclavas staged a "punk-style" prayer in Moscow's Christ the Savior Cathedral. An edited video of their performance was posted on the Internet and caused a public outcry.
Pussy Riot members Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Maria Alyokhina and Yekaterina Samutsevich were arrested shortly thereafter. On August 17, 2012, the Khamovniki District Court sentenced them to two years in a prison settlement for hooliganism.
On October 10, 2012, the Moscow City Court converted Samutsevich's verdict to a suspended sentence and released her immediately, based on her new attorneys' argument that she was seized by security guards prior to reaching the altar and therefore did not actually take part in the punk prayer performance.
Alyokhina's and Tolokonnikova's sentences were upheld.