MOSCOW, September 17 - RAPSI. The members of the Pussy Riot punk rock collective who were sentenced to two years in prison for hooliganism at the Christ the Savior Cathedral have requested to serve their sentences at a Moscow isolation ward instead of in prison, attorney Mark Feygin told RAPSI.

The request was filed because the high profile nature of the case and negative propaganda aimed at demonizing the women may put them at risk in prison, the attorney said.

Feygin said that offenders in women's prisons are not separated in accordance with the severity of their crimes; hence murderers serve sentences alongside those who committed lesser offences, such as disorderly conduct, for instance.

Feygin added that the term to consider the appeal depends solely on the discretion of the Federal Penitentiary Service.

On February 21, 2012 five girls wearing brightly colored masks stormed the altar of downtown Moscow's Christ the Savior Cathedral to perform a protest song entitled, "Holy Sh*t." Shortly thereafter, an edited video of the performance that was uploaded to the Internet incited a major public outcry. Early in August punk group members Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Maria Alyokhina, and Yekaterina Samutsevich have been convicted of hooliganism and sentenced to 2 years in prison.

Audiences worldwide have zeroed in on the Punk Rock collective members' highly controversial arrest and detention. The controversy surrounding the Pussy Riot trial centers on the competing interests of free speech and religious sanctity.