Jailed Pussy Riot members may be free before New Year – lawyer
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MOSCOW, December 18 (RAPSI) – Jailed Pussy Riot members Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina are subject to the recently approved presidential amnesty and may be freed before New Year, attorney Irina Khrunova told RAPSI on Wednesday.
The State Duma on Tuesday passed in the first reading an amnesty bill submitted by Russian President Vladimir Putin. The amnesty was arranged to coincide with the 20th anniversary of the Constitution of the Russian Federation.
Khrunova said that she is waiting for the official publication of the bill in Rossiyskaya Gazeta, a governmental publication that prints all bills after their approval. “After the publication, all convicts subject to amnesty have the right to be released from prison. Tolokonnikova and Alyokhina may be freed before New Year, as soon as the penal colony’s governor prints the decree declaring them released from custody,” the lawyer said.
The attorney added that Yeakterina Samutsevich, the Pussy Riot member that received a suspended sentence is also subject to the presidential amnesty bill.
In February 2012, five young women wearing brightly colored balaclavas staged a punk rock prayer in Moscow's Christ the Savior Cathedral. An edited video of their performance was posted on the Internet and caused a public outcry.
In August 2012, the Khamovnichesky District Court in Moscow sentenced Tolokonnikova and two other Pussy Riot members - Maria Alyokhina and Yekaterina Samutsevich - to two years in a prison settlement for hooliganism.
In October 2012, the Moscow City Court changed Samutsevich's verdict to a suspended sentence and released her immediately based on her new attorneys' argument that she had been seized by security guards prior to reaching the altar.
The sentences of Tolokonnikova and Alyokhina were upheld. Alyokhina was transferred last August to serve her prison term to Nizhny Novgorod region. Tolokonnikova remained in Mordovia.