MOSCOW, November 19 - RAPSI, Diana Gutsul. The defense team for the convicted Pussy Riot members have terminated their agreement with the group, lawyer Mark Feygin told the Russian Legal Information Agency (RAPSI/rapsinews.com) on Monday.
"All three of us (Feygin, Violetta Volkova and Nikolay Polozov) have terminated our agreement with the three women," he said. "This was a mutual decision, which we discussed previously. Our presence in the case only threatens their release. This was made clear to us today."
Feygin said they were not allowed to see the defendant Nadezhda Tolokonnikova in prison in Mordovia. Earlier, Tolokonnikova asked the court to postpone her sentence until her daughter comes of age. Feygin hopes that the defense team's severance from the case will work in Tolokonnikova's favor toward the approval of this motion.
In late February, five young women wearing brightly colored balaclavas performed a "punk-style" prayer at the altar of Moscow's Christ the Savior Cathedral. An edited video of their performance that was posted on the Internet caused a public outcry. Tolokonnikova and fellow Pussy Riot members Maria Alyokhina and Yekaterina Samutsevich were arrested shortly thereafter.
The Khamovnichesky District Court sentenced the three Pussy Riot members to two years in prison for disorderly conduct on August 17. Later, the Moscow City Court commuted Samutsevich's sentence from two years in prison to immediate release on probation due to the fact that she was detained by security prior to reaching the stage and did not actually participate in the protest.
The judge left Tolokonnikova and Alyokhina's sentences intact.