Pussy Riot Members To Be Freed From Prison

After staging a musical protest in a Moscow church, three members of the Russian art-punk band Pussy Riot were sent to prison on charges of “hooliganism motivated by religious hatred” last year. They’ve now spent a year in Siberian prison camps, sparking a global outcry. One member, Yekaterina Samutsevich, successfully appealed her sentence late last year, when her lawyers successfully argued that church guards had prevented her from removing her guitar from its case. And now, thanks to a PR-friendly change to Russian law, the other two members are set to come home.

As Consequence Of Sound points out, Reuters reports that Russia, with President Vladimir Putin’s support, has passed an amnesty law that grants leniency to nonviolent offenders, first-time offenders, and parents of small children. Both imprisoned Pussy Riot members Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina have kids. The bill, which passed the Russian legislature unanimously, is widely regarded as an effort for the country to clean up its image before it hosts the Winter Olympics in February, and both members were set to return home in March anyway after completing their two-year sentence. Still, it’s nice to see them granted some modicum of humanity.

As for Putin, he has not softened his stance on the band at all, saying, “I was not sorry that they [the Pussy Riot members] ended up behind bars. I was sorry that they were engaged in such disgraceful behavior, which in my view was degrading to the dignity of women.”

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