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Pussy Riot And Greenpeace Members May Be Freed Early

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Pussy Riot released the video for Like A Red Prison earlier this year. Many wondered if the video served as a political statement in relation to last year’s imprisonment of members from the musical group who were punished for involvement in a “punk prayer” mocking Vladimir Putin. Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alekhina were sentenced to two years in prison with the original release being set for March; however, a new amnesty law might lead to an earlier release. The amnesty law was approved unanimously by the lower house of the Russian parliament (called the State Duma) on Wednesday. This law may also free 30 individuals previously charged with hooliganism, and imprisoned for participation in a Greenpeace protest condemning oil drilling in the Arctic.

Irina Khrunova, who is the lawyer for Tolokonnikova and Alekhina, gave a phone interview shortly after the ruling. “According to the draft law passed today, my clients will be freed,” Khrunova said.

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Lilia Shevtsova, who is a senior researcher for the Moscow Carnegie Center, spoke against the harshness of the initial punishment. “Putin himself must know that even by his standards, they have already been punished way beyond any reason, and they are coming out in three months anyway, amnesty or no amnesty. He can’t let out protesters who clashed with the police on the eve of his inauguration and spoiled his holiday, but he can let go of Greenpeace activists who already spent two months in jail for nothing,” Shevtsova said.

Denis Sinyakov is a freelance photographer who closely followed the Greenpeace protest. “I and my Greenpeace friends did nothing wrong and committed no crime. I think this is how the authorities are trying to get out of the uncomfortable situation they drove themselves into with their lawless action against us all,” Sinyakov said.

The amnesty will only apply to those imprisoned or held for crimes that are punishable by a term of no more than five years in prison. According to Sergei Markov, the underlying purpose behind the amnesty law is to free ordinary people who were punished for minor crimes and not necessarily to free members of the popular musical group Pussy Riot.

Images 1 and 2 Via Wikimedia Commons

Pussy Riot And Greenpeace Members May Be Freed Early
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