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Russia To Free Pussy Riot, Greenpeace Protesters

The two Pussy Riot members jailed for hooliganism in Russia could go free as soon as this week.
Posted at 12:25 PM, Dec 18, 2013

The two Pussy Riot members jailed for hooliganism in Russia could go free as soon as this week.

Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alekhina of the all-girl punk band were imprisoned after staging a protest against President Vladimir Putin inside a cathedral back in August 2012. (Via R T

Their two-year prison sentences drew international outrage and they gained support from celebrities like Bruce Springsteen, Paul McCartney and Madonna. “I think that they have paid the price for this act, and I pray for their freedom.” (Via Rolling StoneYouTube / PussyRiotEng )

On Wednesday, Russia’s lower house of parliament passed a sweeping amnesty bill granting a pardon to anyone convicted of hooliganism. (Via CNN)

And that includes the Greenpeace members arrested during an Arctic drilling protest this September. They were eventually released on bail but were awaiting trial. (Via Euronews)

And while this is certainly welcome news for those getting pardons, some say its too little, too late.

 

As one of the jailed Greenpeace activists put it: “I'm relieved, but I'm not celebrating. I spent two months in jail for a crime I didn't commit and faced criminal charges that were nothing less than absurd.” (Via The Independent)

​And the Pussy Riot members had only two months left to serve in their two year-long sentences. Here’s what the husband of one of women told Channel 4 News.

“President Putin is making a grand gift of two months off their sentences, so obviously its a small politically-motivated move that they’re trying to show to the West.”  

 

Some observers have called the amnesty bill a symbolic gesture more than anything. Russia’s already dealing with mounting criticism over anti-gay laws. (Via Jewish News One

This, as Russia prepares to host the Olympic Games in February. Several world leaders, including President Obama, have said they will not attend.