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Pussy Riot Members Released From Prison

Pussy Riot
Ilya S. Savenok, Getty Images

The members of the Russian band Pussy Riot are now free ahead of schedule. Nadya Tolokonnikova and Maria Alekhina have been released from jail three months before their sentence was initially set to end.

According to Reuters, the two women along with their fellow band member Yekaterina Samutsevich, were initially arrested for performing ‘Punk Prayer: Mother of God Drive Putin Away’ at Moscow’s Christ the Saviour Cathedral. For their actions, they were charged with “hooliganism motivated by religious hatred or hostility.”

Samutsevich was let go early after a successful appeal of her sentence, but the other two band members remained until their release. Alekhina underwent a hunger strike while jailed, and Tolokonnivkova penned an open letter protesting the treatment of prisoners that garnered plenty of attention. Their plight brought plenty of media attention and public pressure for their release from around the world and earlier this week a new amnesty law passed, which is ultimately what led to their freedom. The new law allows for prisoners who haven’t committed violent crimes or are first-time offenders, minors or women with small children to receive amnesty from their imprisonment.

President Vladimir Putin was questioned about the Pussy Riot members at a news conference and stated, “I was not sorry that they 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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