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Russia: 'Pussy Riot' member Maria Alyokhina appeal rejected

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Russia: 'Pussy Riot' member Maria Alyokhina appeal rejected

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Member of all-female Russian punk group Pussy Riot, Maria Alyokhina has again had her appeal for parole rejected, after serving almost a year in prison for a protest against President Vladimir Putin.

Speaking from behind bars via a videolink during the hearing at a regional court in Perm, the twenty-five year-old mother of one, appealed against a May decision to deny her parole for violating prison rules. Two of her bandmates are also in prison after performing a ‘punk prayer’ in a Moscow church in February 2012.

The case has attracted much media attention, with some seeing the arrest of ‘Pussy Riot’ members as the beginning of a wider crackdown on dissent.

“It’s a flagship case. It’s the case that began the crackdown. When they were arrested a year and a half ago it was really the first arrest in a long series of arrests of people who were engaged in peaceful protests,” explains Russian journalist Masha Gessen.

Alyokhina was charged along with her bandmates of inciting religious hatred following the anti-Putin performance last year. One member was released last October, while the two remaining will be released next March if their appeals are unsuccessful.