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Russian punk star determined to continue fighting conviction

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Jul 28, 2013 | 3:58pm EDT

Jailed Pussy Riot star Nadezhda Tolokonnikova has vowed to continue fighting for freedom "until the very end" after her latest bid for parole was denied. The feminist rocker, 23, was sentenced to two years in prison last year (12), along with bandmates Maria Alekhina and Yekaterina Samutsevich, after they were convicted for staging a protest against Russian President Vladimir Putin at a church in Moscow. Samutsevich was released in October (12) when her sentence was commuted, but both Tolokonnikova and Alekhina have been forced to remain behind bars for hooliganism. Their requests for parole were both thrown out of court during two separate hearings last week (ends26Jul13), but Tolokonnikova is refusing to give up. After her freedom request was dismissed by officials at Mordovia's Supreme Court on Friday (26Jul13), the defiant star told reporters, "I will be contesting my sentence in courts of every level until the very end and will not admit guilt." The court rulings took place just days after several of the world's most famous musicians joined forces to sign an open letter calling for the women's release. Madonna, Sir Elton John, Sting, Adele, Radiohead, One Direction, U2, Coldplay, Sir Paul McCartney, Lily Allen, Bob Geldof and Bruce Springsteen were among a huge number of artists who all signed the Amnesty International message calling for Russian authorities to free the rockers.

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