News / Europe

    Jailed Pussy Riot Members Freed

    A combination photo shows freed Pussy Riot members Nadezhda Tolokonnikova (L) in Krasnoyarsk and Maria Alyokhina (R) in Nizhny Novgorod speaking to the media after they were released from prison, Dec. 23, 2013.
    A combination photo shows freed Pussy Riot members Nadezhda Tolokonnikova (L) in Krasnoyarsk and Maria Alyokhina (R) in Nizhny Novgorod speaking to the media after they were released from prison, Dec. 23, 2013.
    VOA News
    Russia has freed two jailed members of the political protest punk band Pussy Riot under an amnesty law.

    Nadezhda Tolokonnikova left a prison in the Siberian city Krasnoyarsk Monday, hours after band mate Maria Alyokhina was released from a different prison.  

    Both women called their release a public relations stunt by the Russian government ahead of the Winter Olympics in Sochi in February.

    Tolokonnikova told reporters as she left prison that Russia is trying to prevent a possible boycott of the games. She urged people to remember less known prisoners who remain in jail.

    Alyokhina said she would have preferred to remain in prison.  She said her release was not "a humanitarian act."

    The two women had been due to be released in March 2014.  They were freed early after the Russian parliament passed an amnesty bill last week allowing for the release of thousands of inmates.  The Pussy Riot band members qualified for the amnesty in part because they have young children.

    The third member of the band, Yekarterina Samutsevich, was released and had her sentence suspended in 2012.

    The women were convicted of hooliganism motivated by religious hatred for performing a punk prayer against President Vladimir Putin on the altar of Russia’s most prominent Orthodox church in early 2012.

    Pussy Riot was protesting against the Orthodox church's support for Putin during his run for an third term as president.  The jailing of the band members had sparked protests around the world with critics saying it was part of the Kremlin's growing clampdown on dissent.
     
    The release of the two Pussy Riot members comes days after Putin pardoned former oil tycoon and Kremlin critic Mikhail Khodorkovsky, who had spend a decade in prison.

    • A combination photo shows Pussy Riot members Nadezhda Tolokonnikova (L) and Maria Alyokhina (R) speaking to the media after they were released from prison, Dec. 23, 2013. 
    • Nadezhda Tolokonnikova gestures as she leaves prison in Krasnoyarsk, Russia, Dec. 23, 2013. 
    • Pussy Riot member Nadezhda Tolokonnikova speaks to the media after she was released from prison in Krasnoyarsk, Russia, Dec. 23, 2013. 
    • Maria Alekhina speaks to the media at the Committee Against Torture after being released from prison in Nizhny Novgorod, Russia, Dec. 23, 2013. 
    • Maria Alyokhina, member of Russian punk band Pussy Riot, and her lawyer, Pyotr Zaikin, arrive at the offices of rights group Committee Against Torture after her release from a penal colony in Nizhny Novgorod, Russia, Dec. 23, 2013. 
    • Varvara Tolokonnikova, grandmother of Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, shows family photos of Nadezhda at her apartment, as she waited for her granddaughter's release from prison, Dec. 21, 2013. 

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    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: ernst breithaupt
    December 24, 2013 10:50 AM
    Anyone in the west who has the nerve to feel any antagonism toward Russia as a result of their petty western fetishes should hang their head in propitiation. Your degenerate vision for society has no place in Russia or the West. Your self-induced suffering as a result of your hormone-infested lifestyle doesn't even leave you with the necessary constitution to sustain a viable alternative to the cultural order.

    Their always has and always will be that power you fight against. Any alternative you create is beastly and swinish. The misery that eats away at you is just nature's way of slowly flushing you out.

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