Punk prayer protester ‘in single cell at own request’
Jailed Pussy Riot punk protester Maria Alyokhina has been moved to a single-person cell for her own protection because of tension with other prisoners, her lawyer and Russia’s prison service said.
Alyokhina, 24, is serving a two-year sentence for a protest against president Vladimir Putin in Moscow’s main Russian Orthodox cathedral. Activists said her trial, and that of two bandmates, was part of a crackdown on dissent.
“There was a conflict” between Alyokhina and other inmates and “she was tansferred to a individual cell”, her lawyer Irina Khrunova said. She said it was not yet clear what caused the conflict.
Prison authorities said Alyokhina was moved at her own request.
“Some tensions arose in relationships and, apparently to prevent this situation from escalating, she decided to submit a request to the prison leadership and they moved her to a one-person cell,” a prison service spokeswoman said.
She dismissed Russian media reports Alyokhina argued with inmates over religion at the Ural Mountains prison about 700 miles north-east of Moscow. Pussy Riot’s protest offended many members of Russia’s Orthodox Church.
The spokeswoman also said she had no information regarding a report that Alyokhina had been threatened by cellmates.
Alyokhina’s main meal is taken to her cell and she is accompanied by a guard when she leaves it, the spokeswoman said.
Alyokhina and two bandmates were convicted in August of hooliganism motivated by religious hatred for their “punk prayer” at Christ the Saviour Cathedral in which they called on the Virgin Mary to rid Russia of president Putin.
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