Pussy Riot Members Released From Russian Prison Under Amnesty Law

by at . Comments

Both jailed members of cause celebre Russian punk band Pussy Riot have been released from prison under an amnesty law, according to reports.

Nadezhda Tolokonnikova walked free from a prison hospital in Siberia, while band-mate Maria Alyokhina was cut loose earlier in Nizhny Novgorod.

Both have dismissed the amnesty as a PR stunt ahead of February's Winter Olympics in Russia, but they are nonetheless free for the first time in 14 months.

The women were jailed in August 2012 after performing a protest song in Moscow's main cathedral. The act was seen as blasphemous by many Russians.

However, their conviction for "hooliganism motivated by religious hatred" was criticized by rights groups, anti-Putin activists and foreign governments.

Their sentences were due to end in March 2014.

Their release was expedited after Russia's parliament passed a law giving amnesty to 20,000 prisoners, including mothers. Both women have young children.

A third Pussy Riot protester, Yekaterina Samutsevich, was also jailed for the similar alleged offense, but was released on appeal in October 2012.

Tolokonnikova left the prison hospital in Krasnoyarsk, Siberia, on Monday. Appearing healthy and calm, she shouted "Russia without Putin" as she emerged:

"They [the government] just put on another show ahead of the Olympics. Such is their big desire to prevent all European countries from boycotting our Russian Olympics."

"But let us remember about all those people who are not much talked about and are even forgotten but who still need to come out of their jails as they don't belong here."

She called for reform of Russia's prison system, and said she and Alyokhina would now form a group to engage in the human rights movement.

Alyokhina, released earlier Monday, told Russian TV that her views of President Putin had not changed and that the amnesty was "a profanation" and "a PR exercise."

"If I had a choice to refuse [the amnesty], I would have, without a doubt."

Former oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky, who was once Russia's richest man, was also pardoned on Friday and freed after more than 10 years in prison.

Convicted of tax evasion and fraud, he was pardoned on humanitarian grounds because his mother is seriously ill. He has promised to stay out of politics.

Charges against 30 people arrested while taking part in a Greenpeace protest at a Russian Arctic offshore oil rig may also be dropped later this week.

Tags:
Avatar

PUSSY IOT ? PUUSYY QUIET !!! HOPE IT'S NOT RUSATY

Avatar

read my lips: DON'T FUCK WITH POETIN.