Pussy Riot's vegetarian Alyokhina upset with meat menu of penitentiary

Convicted Pussy Riot punk band member Maria Alyokhina, who is serving prison time at the 28th penitentiary in Berezniki, Perm territory, feels uncomfortable about the meat menu because she is a vegetarian, a human rights activist told Interfax.

"That is a problem for Maria, who is a vegetarian. We looked at the penitentiary menu yesterday: there is a lot of meat there. There is meat in the soup and in the main course, which upsets the girl," Perm regional human rights center head Sergei Isayev said on Thursday.

The penitentiary has a relatively good store, but the girl will be unable to afford the desired food because her salary will be no larger than 2,000 rubles.

Isayev said he visited the penitentiary, in which Alyokhina had spent five days in a quarantine unit, on Wednesday. Penitentiary personnel, including doctors and psychologists, are helping her adjust to the new environment, he said.

The singer will soon have to choose an occupation, Isayev said. "Maria hoped she would be working at the library, but that appears to be impossible. She may learn sewing," Isayev said.

The girl has spoken to her mother on the phone once, the activist said.

Pussy Riot band members performed an anti-Putin "punk prayer" at the Christ the Savior Cathedral on February 21, 2012. The performance and the trial caused a wide public reaction, both national and international. Three singers - Alyokhina, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Yekaterina Samutsevich - were detained on hooliganism charges. The girls refused to plead guilty; they said it was a political action and they did not intend to offend believers.

A court sentenced the girls to two years in a penitentiary on August 17. Human rights activists said that an administrative punishment for petty hooliganism was the most the girls deserved. Amnesty International recognized the singers as prisoners of conscience. Lawyers filed a cassation appeal. They said there were no formal elements of a crime or hate motive in the girls' conduct. Yet the Moscow City Court upheld on October 10 as lawful the sentence on Tolokonnikova and Alyokhina and changed Samutsevich's sentence to suspended.

Tolokonnikova was sent to the 14th female penitentiary in Mordovia. Alyokhina was assigned to the 28th penitentiary in Berezniki, Perm territory.

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