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Pussy Riot To Be Freed As Early As Today

Written by Sarah Bella on December 19, 2013

Maria Alyokhina and Nadya Tolokonnikova of Pussy Riot could have their two year prison sentences cut short and be released as early as today, following Russian parliament’s passing of a wide-ranging amnesty law earlier in the week.

Alyokhina and Tolokonnikova were arrested for staging an impromptu punk performance in Moscow in 2012, while the third member of the group, Yekaterina Samutsevich, was freed following a successful appeal in 2012. Tolokonnikova’s husband, Petya Verzilov, told The Guardian that authorities have indicated that the pair can be released as soon as the law is finalised:

“They are slightly sceptical of course. When you’re living in these conditions it’s hard to think about the Duma passing some bill, and it seems like it could never happen, so it’s a big surprise for them that it does actually seem to be happening.”

The law mainly considers first-time offenders, minors and women with small children and is supported by president Vladimir Putin. It was voted in 446-0 by the Duma, Russia’s parliament, and coincides with the 20th anniversary of Russia’s constitution, as well as aiming to improve the country’s international image ahead of February’s Winter Olympics.

Alyokhina is currently held in a prison in the city of Nizhny Novgorod, while Tolokonnikova was moved from Mordovia to the Siberian city of Krasnoyarsk after publishing an open letter condemning the horrific prison conditions.

The pair, whose sentences include time served since their arrest, were due to be released next March. Verzilov said Tolokonnikova and Alyokhina have a major new project related to the Russian prison system in the works, although he declined to give specifics.

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