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Pussy Riot Musicians Moved to 'Brutal' Regional Prisons

Inmates standing in a yard at a women’s prison in the Udmurtia republic. Yuri Tutov

Two Pussy Riot musicians were sent to separate prisons over the weekend to serve out two-year sentences for their anti-Putin performance in Moscow's main cathedral.

Nadezhda Tolokonnikova was sent to a prison in the Mordovia republic and Maria Alyokhina went to a prison in the Perm region on Saturday, Pussy Riot said on its Twitter account.

"These are the most brutal colonies of all possible options," it said.

The Mordovia and Perm prisons house some of the country's most dangerous criminals, including killers, robbers and organized crime gangsters.

Defense lawyer Mark Feigin, who was not notified about the women's move, telephoned the Moscow detention center where they had been held on Monday and received confirmation that they had left, Interfax reported. He was trying to determine exactly where they had been sent.

Prison officials did not confirm the location of the women, telling national news agencies that the information would only be shared with immediate family.

A Moscow court in August convicted Tolokonnikova, Alyokhina and a third musician, Yekaterina Samutsevich, of hooliganism motivated by religious hatred for their February performance in Christ the Savior Cathedral. Samutsevich's conviction was thrown out on appeal on Oct. 10, with the court ruling that she had not been among the masked women who participated in the performance. She filed a lawsuit against the Russian government in the European Court of Human Rights last week.

The Moscow court rejected appeals from the other two musicians, despite a plea that the sentences be delayed until the women's children reached the age of 14 — an option that judges are allowed to grant under the law. Tolokonnikova's daughter, Gera, is 4, while Alyokhina's son, Philip, is 5.

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