Russia: Freedom promised to the two imprisoned Pussy Riot members

The Russian State Duma has passed an amnesty bill submitted by Russian President Vladimir Putin that seems to promise freedom for the two jailed members of the punk protest group Pussy Riot, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina.

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According to the attorney Irina Khrunova, Tolokonnikova and Alyokhina may be freed before New Year, as soon as the penal colony’s governor prints the decree declaring them released from custody.

The amnesty was arranged to coincide with the 20th anniversary of the Constitution of the Russian Federation.

Irina Khrunova said that she is waiting for the official publication of the bill in Rossiyskaya Gazeta, a governmental publication that prints all bills after their approval.

After the publication, all convicts subject to amnesty have the right to be released from prison.

The attorney added that Yeakterina Samutsevich, the Pussy Riot member that received a suspended sentence, is also subject to the presidential amnesty bill.

“Although Freemuse welcomes the amnesty, we need to remember that the members of Pussy Riot should never have been imprisoned. The imprisonment under harsh conditions was inhumane and an overreaction. President Putin and the court system made use of the Pussy Riot action to demonstrate the state’s willingness to make use of brutal power in order to silence opposition,” said Freemuse Director Ole Reitov.

Freemuse has campaigned for the release of the Pussy Riots members since their arrest in 2012, and has been engaged in skype conferences with the released Pussy Riot member Yekaterina Samutsevitch.



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