Pussy Riot To Be Freed

Decree of amnesty may free remaining members of punk band jailed for part in 2012 protest.
By: Michael Regula
December 10 2013 5:25 PM

Jailed members of the group Pussy Riot may soon be released from a Russian prison, according to various media outlets inside Russia. Local newspapers began reporting on Monday that members of the band and nearly 25,000 others could be freed under a decree of amnesty initiated by President Putin on December 9.

In late September, Putin tasked human rights activists with putting together a draft bill for an amnesty dedicated to the 20th anniversary of the country’s modern Constitution. Together they decided who will be pardoned and submitted the draft to the State Duma on Monday. Russian newspapers Izvestia and Vedomosti have reportedly obtained copies of the draft, seeking to terminate criminal proceedings in respect to nearly 25,000 thousand Russians.

The jailed members of Pussy Riot, Maria Alekhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, were sentenced to 2 years in prison for ‘hooliganism’ for staging a protest against President Putin outside of Russia’s main Orthodox Cathedral in February 2012. According to Vedomosti, the amnesty will not free people convicted of serious and very serious crimes, however, an exception is made for three articles of the Criminal Code, the second of which is article 213 – 'hooliganism.'

On Monday, RT cited Vladimir Vasilyev, deputy speaker of the Russian parliament as saying:

“Around 1,300 people will be released from prison, and 17,500 people will be relieved of non-custodial sentences. In addition, criminal proceedings against nearly 6,000 can be terminated.”

The amnesty bill, which many see as a public relations ploy from an embattled homophobic government ahead of the Winter Games, could be adopted before the end of the year and implemented within the next six months, according to Izvestia.



 

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