Russia court cancels Pussy Riot punk's prison reprimands
A Russian court on Friday ordered the cancellation of several formal reprimands issued to a jailed Pussy Riot member in a move her supporters hailed as a victory for the embattled punk band.
Maria Alyokhina, who is serving a two-year sentence in a prison camp over a protest against President Vladimir Putin in Moscow's cathedral last year, went to court to contest reprimands meted out for transgressions including getting up late and being rude to prison staff.
A court in the Perm region of the Urals where she is in prison cancelled two of Alyokhina's four formal reprimands, but the others remain in place, court spokeswoman Yulia Medvedeva said.
The reprimands mean that Alyokhina, 24, cannot be released on parole.
She and bandmate Nadezhda Tolokonnikova are serving two-year sentences for hooliganism motivated by religious hatred for singing a "punk prayer" against Putin in the country's top church.
Alyokhina's lawyer Oksana Darova told AFP she would lodge a formal complaint about the two remaining reprimands within the next month.
Supporters hailed the result as a small but significant victory.
"The court upheld Alyokhina's right to change the prison system and publicly reprimand (prison) management," the Voina (War) art collective closely affiliated with Pussy Riot wrote on Twitter.
The outspoken activist said she went to court to defend her rights and those of her fellow inmates.
"I went to court for everyone who is powerless, everyone who is speechless, everyone who has been deprived of the right to speak by those who have been entrusted with power," Alyokhina said in court on Thursday in comments posted on the Echo of Moscow radio station website.
She lambasted the rigorous daily regime at the camp, saying it was designed to bring out the worst qualities in inmates.
"I believe that prisons reflect a general state of affairs in Russia. We all know what coercion, powerlessness, lawlessness is," she said.
Alyokhina said in an interview with opposition newspaper Novaya Gazeta last month that she had met a local rights ombudsman and complained that inmates did not have warm clothes and had to wash in cold water.
She said she has received death threats over her activism from long-serving prisoners who she believes cooperate with prison administration.
© 2013 AFP