1. Inhalt
  2. Navigation
  3. Weitere Inhalte
  4. Metanavigation
  5. Suche
  6. Choose from 30 Languages

Russia

Pussy Riot members Maria Alyokhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnkiova freed

Two members of the Russian group Pussy Riot have been freed from their prisons, a few months before their two-year sentences were set to expire. This follows the prominent release of ex-oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky.

Pussy Riot band members released

Maria Alyokhina and then Nadezhda Tolokonnikova were both freed from prison on Monday, after an amnesty agreement passed by the Russian parliament, the Duma, last Wednesday. Alykohina was the first to be released.

"Maria Alyokhina walked out to freedom," her lawyer Pyotr Zaikan said. "All of the documents have been completed and signed." Zaikan added that his client had left in a prison convoy, heading for a train to Moscow.

"I don't think it's an amnesty, it's a profanation," Alyokhina told Russia's Dozhd television channel by phone after her release. "I don't think the amnesty is a humanitarian act, I think it's a PR stunt."

Alyokhina said the development had no impact on her opinion of President Vladimir Putin, even saying that, given the choice, she would have refused the amnesty "without a doubt."

Roughly five hours later, Tolokonnikova walked out of a prison hospital in the Siberian city of Krasnoyarsk.

"Nadya is free!" her husband, Pyotr Verzilov, wrote on Twitter.

Putin prayer at the altar

Alyokhina and Tolokonnikova were arrested in March last year and then convicted in July on charges of hooliganism motivated by religious hatred; the Pussy Riot ensemble staged a brief performance in a Russian Orthodox cathedral in February that year, later using the footage for a music video. This "punk prayer" coincided with Vladimir Putin's ultimately successful campaign to return to the Russian presidency in elections on March 4, 2012.

Their two-year sentences were due to expire in March of 2014.

Last week's parliamentary amnesty seemed almost custom-made for the two members of Pussy Riot still behind bars. The bill made specific reference to young mothers, prisoners with sentences of less than five years, and those convicted on charges of hooliganism.

A third Pussy Riot member, Yekaterina Samutsevich, was released last October when an appeals court suspended her sentence.

Russian President Vladimir Putin also on Friday signed an amnesty for former oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky, who immediately flew to Berlin after his release. Khodorkovsky on Sunday thanked the German government and former Foreign Minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher for their roles in negotiating his release. Like Alyokhina, Khodorkovsky's sentence on tax evasion and embezzlement charges was due to expire in 2014.

msh/jr (AFP, dpa, Reuters)

DW.DE

Audios and videos on the topic