Pussy Riot's Maria Alyokhina Denied Parole

Paul McCartney to Pussy Riot: 'Stay Strong'

Pussy Riot's Maria Alyokhina has been denied parole, following a similar decision for fellow incarcerated band member Nadezhda Tolokonnikova.

Alyokhina, who had embarked on a hunger strike after being barred by the court from attending her parole hearing, had her request turned down after the court ruled she had disobeyed authorities at the prison in which she was jailed and had not repented for her crime.

"This looked not like a court hearing but like arm-twisting," Alyokhina's mother, Natalia, told Svoboda Radio. "Clearly the court was not interested in the character of the convict, because the decision was likely made in advance."

Alyokhina and Tolokonnikova were jailed in August 2012 for two years after being convicted of hooliganism motivated by religious hatred. The duo and other members of the Russian punk rock collective staged an infamous "punk prayer" at Moscow's Christ the Saviour Cathedral in protest of Vladimir Putin.

The case has received international attention, and earlier this week, Paul McCartney announced he had sent letters to Russian officials in support of the jailed band members.