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Pussy Riot Wants a €250K Payout From Russia

Pussy Riot members (L-R) Maria Alyokhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova

Pussy Riot members Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina are seeking damages in the amount of 250,000 euros ($336,000) in their case against Russia before the European Court of Human Rights, Vedomosti reported Monday.

The women are seeking 120,000 euros in moral damages each, and an additional 10,000 euros between the two to cover legal fees, according to the report.

Tolokonnikova and Alyohkina were hit with two-year prison terms in August 2012 for their "punk prayer" performance in Moscow's Christ the Savior Cathedral earlier that year. They were sentenced alongside a third member of the group, Yekaterina Samutsevich, who was released last October after a court transferred her prison term to a suspended sentence.

The Pussy Riot members initially lodged a complaint before the ECHR in June 2012, while their case in Russia was still ongoing. At the time, they complained that various of their fundamental rights had been violated, including the rights to liberty and security and to a fair trial, freedom of expression and the prohibition of torture, all of which are guaranteed by the European Convention of Human Rights, to which Russia is a signatory.

In June, the Justice Ministry responded to these complaints with a 35-page memorandum that referred to the women's claims as "baseless," Vedomosti reported at the time.

During her time behind bars, Tolokonnikova went on a hunger strike to protest prison conditions at her penal colony in Mordovia. She also wrote an open letter accusing officials of abusing prisoners and was subsequently transferred to a different facility.

Alyokhina and Tolokonnikova were granted amnesty and released in December. Upon their release, they vowed to fight to improve prisoners' rights.

See also:

Rights Groups to Testify Against Russia in Pussy Riot Trial

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