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Court Rejects Pussy Riot Request to Defer Sentence to Raise Son

Single mother argues that separation 'would do irreparable psychological damage'

- Lauren McCauley, staff writer

A Russian court on Wednesday rejected a request by jailed single mother and Pussy Riot member Maria Alekhina to defer her sentence so that she may raise her young son.

(Photo: Sergei Karpukhin/ Reuters) Meeting near the female prison IK-28 in Berezniki where the band members are being held, Alekhina asked the court to let her serve the remainder of her two-year sentence after her 5-year-old son turns 14, arguing that "separation from her young child now would do irreparable psychological damage to him."

Judge Galina Yefremova rejected Alekhina's petition arguing that the court that sentenced her had already taken the child's existence into account.

Alekhina, along with two other Pussy Riot members, was convicted this summer of "hooliganism...based on motives of religious hatred and enmity," over the performance of an anti-Putin "punk prayer" in a Moscow cathedral.

Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, who also has an underage child, continues to serve her jail sentence in Mordovia prison camp; the third member, Ekaterina Samutsevich, was released on probation in October 2012 after successfully appealing her conviction.

As several dozen supporters gathered outside the Berezniki court building, the Pussy Riot support group declared Wednesday, January 16 the International Day of Solidarity with Maria Alyokhina listing a number of international actions taking place in her support.

(Photo: Sergei Karpukhin/ Reuters)