Jailed Members Of Russian Punk-Feminist Protest Group Freed

Jailed Members Of Russian Punk-Feminist Protest Group Freedvia Amnesty International

Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina, the jailed members of Russian punk-feminist protest group Pussy Riot, will be freed from prison today three months before their schedule release. The two were arrested, along with fellow member Yekaterina Samutsevich, on February 21, 2012 after performing "Punk Prayer: Mother of God Drive Putin Away" at Russian Orthodox church Christ the Saviour Cathedral in Moscow. They were charged with "hooliganism motivated by religious hatred or hostility."

Samutsevich was able to repeal the charges—the performance was shut down quickly and Samutsevich, technically, did not participate—while Toloknnikova and Alyokhina were sentenced to two years in a Mordovian penal colony. (You can read a detailed open letter of the prison conditions from Toloknnikova here.)

Today, the women are set to be freed today, before their planned March release. Two days ago, Russia passed an amnesty bill that allowed their early release. From the Associated Press: Prisoners "who haven't committed violent crimes, first-time offenders, minors and women with small children" are granted amnesty from their incarceration.

In a press conference, Russian President Vladimir Putin expressed no remorse for Tolokonnikova and Alyokhina. "I was not sorry that they ended up behind bars," he said. "I was sorry that they were engaged in such disgraceful behaviour, which in my view was degrading to the dignity of women."

[via NBC World News]

RELATED: Paul McCartney Pens Letter to Russian Authorities Supporting Pussy Riot

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