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Russia May Free Pussy Riot Members

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As the Winter Olympics being held in Sochi in February draw near, Russia’s parliament passed a new amnesty bill on Wednesday, which is widely viewed as being a measure to calm international watchdog groups over the Kremlin’s human rights records.

The bill would likely free the two imprisoned members of the Pussy Riot punk band, as well as a 30-member crew of a Greenpeace ship, who were taken into custody after an Arctic protest.

Russian lawmakers have said the new bill, which the State Duma voted 446-0 in favor of, will likely free roughly 2,000 prisoners. The new laws apply to those who are non-violent offenders, and are catered mostly toward first-time offenders, minors and women with small children. Jailed Pussy Riot members Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alekhina both have small children, though no names were actually listed on the new bill.

Here’s a clip of the antics that garnered Pussy Riot their charges of hooliganism, after engaging in their “punk prayer”:

Tolokonnikova and Alekhina are both serving two-year sentences for their hooliganism charges, after “upping teh punx” at Moscow’s main cathedral.

All sorts of punks just won’t leave Vladimir Putin alone:

Regarding the potential release of the crew of a Greenpeace boat that was arrested, Greenpeace spokesman Aaron Gray-Block commented, “The Arctic 30 now hope they can spend Christmas at home. But it is too early to say.” The bill is expected to go into effect today, as soon as it hits the Russian media, though it may take six months for any prisoners who might benefit from it to be freed.

The Greenpeace ship Arctic Sunrise was boarded and seized by Russian security agents in international waters on September 19, and was subsequently towed to the port of Murmansk.

The Arctic Sunrise’s captain, Peter Willcox, said in a statement, “I might soon be going home to my family, but I should never have been charged and jailed in the first place.”

Image via Wikimedia Commons.

Russia May Free Pussy Riot Members
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