Pussy Riot’s Tolokonnikova pardoned under new Russian amnesty
MOSCOW, December 23 (RAPSI) - Pussy Riot member Nadezhda Tolokonnikova has been pardoned today pursuant to a broad amnesty spearheaded by Russian President Vladimir Putin and adopted by the State Duma earlier this month, the Prosecutor's office representative told RAPSI.
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. In November, Tolokonnikova was transferred to the Krasnoyarsk Territory.
The Duma passed the amnesty bill, which was originally submitted by President Putin, in its first reading. The amnesty was arranged to coincide with the 20th anniversary of the Constitution of the Russian Federation.
It has entered into effect, having been published in Rossiyskaya Gazeta - the governmental publication that prints all bills after they have been approved.