RUSSIA'S PUSSY RIOT FREED FROM PRISON

Dec 23, 2013

By Scott Walker

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Two jailed members of the Russian punk band Pussy Riot have been released from prison.

Maria Alekhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova were among thousands of inmates granted amnesty by Russian authorities. The decision is widely seen as an effort to counter criticism of the country’s human rights record in the weeks leading up to the Winter Olympics in Sochi.

Authorities say the two artists qualified for amnesty because they have small children. But Alekhina said, “This is not amnesty. It is a hoax and a PR move.”

She added that she would have turned it down if given a choice.

The members of Pussy Riot were jailed on a charge of hooliganism for a video protest in Moscow’s main cathedral against the regime of President Vladimir Putin.

A third member, Yekaterina Samutsevich, was released on a suspended sentence several months ago.

The amnesty followed a ruling by Russia’s Supreme court that the case against them should be reviewed because their guilty was not proven adequately.

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