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Pussy Riot Rocker Asks for Parole

A court in the Perm region town of Berezniki said Friday that it had received a parole request for jailed Pussy Riot musician Maria Alyokhina.

"We received the request for parole from lawyer Oksana Darova yesterday evening," a court spokesman told Interfax. The court has not set a date for the parole hearing.

The request came after Darova said earlier this week that her client did not want to ask for parole and was prepared to serve the full length of her prison term. It was not immediately clear why Alyokhina had changed her mind.

Two members of Pussy Riot, Alyokhina and Tolokonnikova, were sentenced to two years imprisonment for an anti-Putin performance at the Christ the Savior Cathedral in Moscow on Feb. 21, 2012. A third band member, Yekaterina Samutsevich, received a suspended sentence.

The young women deny the charges of hooliganism motivated by religious hatred, while their supporters say the conviction was politically motivated and the sentence too harsh.

While Alyokhina is jailed in the Perm region, Tolokonnikova, who also has applied for parole, is serving her sentence at a penal colony in Mordovia. Both are eligible for parole after serving two-thirds of their sentences.

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