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Pussy Riot Appeals Conviction to European Court

Lawyers for three members of the feminist punk group Pussy Riot are contesting their convictions at the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, France.

The complaint, filed Wednesday, alleges that the group's conviction violates four articles of the European Convention on Human Rights, namely the ones guaranteeing freedom of speech, the right to liberty and security, the prohibition of torture and the right to a fair trial.

Maria Alyokhina, Yekaterina Samutsevich and Natalya Tolokonnikova were sentenced to two years in prison for their irreverent "punk prayer" in Moscow's main cathedral last February to protest Vladimir Putin's return to the presidency. Samutsevich was later released on appeal.

The women's convictions on charges of hooliganism motivated by religious hatred" have sparked global outrage, drawing attention to Russia's intolerance of dissent under Putin.

Tolokonnikova returned to a prison colony in the central Mordovia republic Wednesday after spending time at a hospital, her husband, Pyotr Verzliov, wrote on Twitter.

Tolokonnikova had complained of headaches and overwork at the colony, which is known for its tough conditions and strict schedule for prisoners to sew uniforms.

Alyokhina, who is imprisoned in the Perm region, in the Urals, is appealing several reprimands in court.

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