Russian President Vladimir Putin said today that the imprisoned Pussy Riot members will be freed under an amnesty but described their protest against him in a church as “disgraceful behaviour,” NDTV reported.
The amnesty will also free 30 people arrested in a Greenpeace protest against Arctic oil — before Russia hosts the Winter Olympics in February 2014.
Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina are serving two-year sentences for a protest at Moscow’s Cathedral of Christ the Savior, which included the filming the music video “Punk Prayer – Mother of God, Chase Putin Away!”
Putin said the amnesty was passed to mark the 20th anniversary of Russia’s post-Soviet constitution, and not with the Greenpeace protesters or Pussy Riot in mind.
At an annual news conference today Putin said:
“It (the amnesty) is neither linked to Greenpeace, nor this group (Pussy Riot).”
But Putin also said, “I was not sorry that they (the Pussy Riot members) ended up behind bars,” Putin said. “I was sorry that they were engaged in such disgraceful behaviour, which in my view was degrading to the dignity of women. They went beyond all boundaries.”
It now appears that Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina of Pussy Riot are likely be pardoned on December 12th as part of a celebration of the 20th anniversary of the Russian constitution, the Russian newspaper Izvestia reports.
In total, some 25,000 prisoners will be pardoned including 30 or so Greenpeace activists, Izvestia reports.
Izvestia is basing the news on a draft of an amnesty bill by Russian President Vladimir Putin that has been submitted to the Russian parliament that the newspaper obtained.
Although the bill does not name individuals, according toe the draft version, among those who will be pardoned are women who have young children and who have not committed violent crimes. That would include Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina.
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Pussy Riot members Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alekhina have filed an appeal with the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation in hopes their two-year prison sentences will be overturned.
Both women claim they were unfairly punished for performing a protest song against President Vladimir Putin in a Moscow church last year, the Australian Associated Press reports.
This latest legal move on the part of the Pussy Riot members is supported by the country’s Human Rights Commissioner Vladimir Lukin.
Both women are due to be released in March of 2014.
Meanwhile, a few days ago Tolokonnikova’s husband Pyotr Verzilov finally got to see her after being unable to see or speak to her for over three weeks. Ten hours after the couple spoke Verzilov did an interview with Aljazeera America.