Moscow detention center confirms Pussy Riot members sent to faraway penitentiaries

Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, a member of the Pussy Riot punk band who was recently sentenced to 2 years in prison for disorderly conduct at the Christ the Savior Cathedral in Moscow, has been delivered to female penitentiary No. 14 in Mordovia, lawyer Violetta Volkova told Interfax on Wednesday.

Another Pussy Riot member sentenced under the same case, Maria Alyokhina, has reportedly been sent to penitentiary No. 32 in Perm, she said.

"Our information indicates that Nadezhda is in penitentiary No. 14 in Mordovia. As for Maria Alyokhina, we have information that she has been sent to penitentiary No. 32 in Perm, but this information has yet to be verified," Volkova said.

A spokesperson for the Federal Corrections Service department for the Perm territory said he did not have information regarding Alyokhina.

Earlier defense lawyer Nikolai Polozov told that the administration of a Moscow detention center confirmed reports that Alyokhina and Tolokonnikova had been sent to penitentiaries in the Perm territory and Mordovia.

"I have just talked with the chief of the detention facility where our clients were held, who confirmed that Alyokhina had been sent to the Perm region on Oct. 21 and Tolokonnikova to Mordovia on Oct. 22," Polozov said on Tuesday.

The detention center administration did not specify what penitentiaries exactly the women had been sent to, explaining that this issue is within the purview of the Federal Corrections Service's local branches.

"We are trying to contact these branches and will send inquiries there to possibly obtain some more concrete information," he said.

Masked Pussy Riot punk group singers staged what they called "an anti-Putin punk prayer" at the Christ the Savior Cathedral in Moscow on February 21, 2012. The singers' escapade became a matter of controversy both in Russia and abroad.

Moscow's Khamovnichesky Court sentenced three Pussy Riot members, i.e. Alyokhina, Tolokonnikova and Yekaterina Samutsevich, to two years in a penal colony on August 17, 2012.

On Oct. 10, the Moscow City Court suspended Samutsevich's sentence and upheld Tolokonnikova's and Alyokhina's convictions.

Polozov told Interfax on Oct. 16 that he had filed a request with the Khamovnichesky Court on deferring Tolokonnikova's and Alyokhina's sentences until their children reach the age of 14. Tolokonnikova's daughter Gera is now four and Alyokhina's son Filipp is five. Polozov argued that Russian courts had granted such exceptions earlier, recalling particularly that the daughter of a government official found guilty of careless driving involving the deaths of two women had earlier had her conviction deferred until her children reach 14.

Moscow City Court judges, who heard the Pussy Riot members' appeal against their conviction, suggested earlier at a press conference at the Interfax main office that the fact that two of the three defendants had little children had already been taken into consideration in determining their punishment.

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