Pussy Riot Members Released Early From Prison

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Pussy Riot member, Maria Alyokhina is surrounded by journalists after being freed from prison. (ANASTASIYA MAKARYCHEVA/AFP/Getty Images)

Pussy Riot member, Maria Alyokhina is surrounded by journalists after being freed from prison. (ANASTASIYA MAKARYCHEVA/AFP/Getty Images)

By Shannon Carlin

The two jailed members of Pussy Riot, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina, were released today (Dec. 23) under a new amnesty law in Russia.

The two women, who were found guilty of “hooliganism motivated by religious hatred” in 2012 after performing an anti-Putin “punk prayer” in Moscow’s Christ the Saviour Cathedral, were serving a two-year sentence, which was set to end in February.

Russian parliament passed the amnesty bill last week, allowing thousands of inmates to go free, including 30 people who were arrested during a Greenpeace protest against arctic drilling. Part of the reason the Pussy Riot rockers qualified for amnesty was because they have small children. But Russian President Vladimir Putin, however, says the amnesty was not passed with Pussy Riot or Greenpeace in mind, but to commemorate the 20th anniversary Russia’s post-Soviet constitution.

After being set free from a prison in the western city of Nizhny Novgorod this morning, Alyokhina spoke with the New York Times about the early release, explaining that she did not want amnesty and felt the program was designed to make President Putin look good.

Read more about Pussy Riot’s release on Radio.com

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