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Jailed Pussy Riot member 'moved to safety'

One of the jailed members of Russia's punk band Pussy Riot was moved out of her quarters in her prison camp after complaining of poor relations with other prisoners, the prison service said Friday.

Maria Alyokhina, 24, who is serving her two-year sentence for the group's anti-Vladimir Putin performance in Russia's main Orthodox Cathedral, was moved to a "safe" place in the prison camp, an official with the Perm region prison service told AFP.

"Alyokhina was moved to a safe place from the general unit on Wednesday evening after she wrote a letter to the prison authorities asking to be transferred," he said.

"The reason for the move is that she has poor relations with other prisoners," he said, without elaborating.

Russian news agencies reported that Alyokhina was placed in a solitary cell but the official refused to confirm this.

Alyokhina, who was transferred to the Berezniki prison camp in Perm region one month ago, will remain away from the general prison camp unit for three months unless she requests to be moved back, the prison official said.

Tabloid Komsomolskaya Pravda said Friday that Alyokhina complained to her relatives over the phone that other prisoners were making threats against her and asked rights organisations to support her.

Alyokhina and fellow band member Nadezhda Tolokonnikova were sentenced to two years in prison for hooliganism motivated by religious hatred after they performed a "punk prayer" in a Moscow cathedral.

Bandmate Yekaterina Samutsevich was released on appeal with a suspended sentence because guards grabbed her before she could take part.

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