Russian punk star loses appeal and prison move plea

Pussy Riot star Nadezhda Tolokonnikova was dealt a double blow on Friday (27Sep13) when officials threw out her bid to slash her jail sentence and refused her request to be transferred to another prison. The punk activist went on hunger strike earlier this week (beg23Sep13) after alleging she has been improperly treated by staff and accusing officials of using female inmates as “slave labour”.
She was moved into an isolation unit at the prison colony in Mordovia, where she is serving her two-year sentence for hooliganism, and applied to be transferred to a different jail, but authorities refused the request on Friday. They accused Tolokonnikova of blackmail after her demands for a more comfortable cell were rejected.
Hours later, Tolokonnikova was given more bad news when officials threw out her bid for freedom by ruling her sentence should not be cut.
Tolokonnikova and two Pussy Riot bandmates – Maria Alekhina and Yekaterina Samutsevich – were jailed for two years in 2012 amid uproar over their protest against Russian President Vladimir Putin at a Moscow church.
Samutsevich was freed in October (12) when her sentence was commuted, and Alekhina will learn the outcome of her bid for early release next month (Oct13). If it is rejected, she and Tolokonnikova will not be eligible for release until March (14).