Two Members Of Pussy Riot Released From Prison

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Two imprisoned members of the Russian feminist punk band Pussy Riot were released this morning from work camps. Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina were granted amnesty last week after serving time on a two-year prison sentence for “hooliganism.” 

Three members of Pussy Riot were sentenced to prison for “hooliganism” and “inciting religious hatred” after they crashed a Moscow cathedral service in 2012 to speak out publicly against the Russian Orthodox Church and President Vladmir Putin. (The third member, Yekaterina Samutsevich, did not have to serve jail time after it was found she had not participated in the protest as fully as the other two women.)  Their imprisonment ignited global protests in defense of free speech, with the likes of Madonna, Sting, and Yoko Ono showing their support.

During their imprisonment, both women spoke out publicly against Russia’s brutal criminal justice system and even staged hunger strikes. Upon her release, Alyokhina told the UK’s Guardianshe was given forced “gynecological exams” nearly every day for three weeks. The pair also said they were moved around to more remote prisons so they could be distanced from their families, friends and supporters — at one point leading people to believe Tolokonnikova was missing.

Alyokhina dismissed their release from prison as a publicity stunt, likely tied to the upcoming 2014 Olympics in Sochi, Russia. She told the New York Times that they were not even eligible for amnesty:” I think this is an attempt to improve the image of the current government, a little, before the Sochi Olympics — particularly for the Western Europeans.” Tolokonnikova dismissed their early release as “cosmetic.”

[Guardian UK]
[New York Times]
[BBC]

Email me at Jessica@TheFrisky.com. Follow me on Twitter.

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