Maria Alyokhina's appeal against a previous decision to deny her early release from a two-year jail sentence was rejected by a court in the city of Perm, where she is serving her sentence, about 1,500 km (940 miles) east of Moscow.

Alyokhina, 25, and two other Pussy Riot members were convicted of hooliganism motivated by religious hatred in August for bursting into the Russian Orthodox cathedral and belting out a "punk prayer" asking the Virgin Mary to rid Russia of Putin.

Madonna, Paul McCartney and Adele were among more than 100 musicians to sign a letter calling for their release that was published by Amnesty International on Tuesday.