Pussy Riot protester alone in cell after inmate tension
By Nastassia Astrasheuskaya
MOSCOW (Reuters) - Jailed Pussy Riot punk protester Maria Alyokhina has been moved to a single-person cell for her own protection because of tension with other prisoners, her lawyer and Russia's federal penitentiary service said on Friday.
Alyokhina, 24, is serving a two-year sentence for a raucous protest against President Vladimir Putin in Moscow's main Russian Orthodox cathedral. Activists said her trial, and that of two band mates, was part of a crackdown on dissent.
"There was a conflict" between Alyokhina and other inmates and "she was transferred to a individual cell," her lawyer Irina Khrunova said by telephone. She said it was not yet clear what caused the conflict.
Prison authorities said Alyokhina was moved at her own request.
"Some tensions arose in relationships and, apparently to prevent this situation from escalating, she decided to submit a request to the prison leadership and they moved her to a one-person cell," a federal prison service spokeswoman said.
The spokeswoman dismissed Russian media reports Alyokhina argued with inmates over religion at the Ural Mountains prison about 1,150 km (715 miles) northeast of Moscow. Pussy Riot's protest offended many members of Russia's Orthodox Church.
The spokeswoman also said she had no information regarding a report on the tabloid-style Life News website that Alyokhina had received violent threats from cell mates.
Alyokhina's main meal is taken to her cell and she is accompanied by a guard when she leaves it, the spokeswoman said. Continued...