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Jailed Pussy Riot Members Could be Released This Week

December 18, 2013  |  2:25pm
Jailed Pussy Riot Members Could be Released This Week

Pussy Riot members Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina could be freed from their jail sentences early as this Thursday, according to Siberian prison officials cited by Hollywood Reporter.

The potential release comes on the heels of a ruling by the Russian Supreme Court that the original two-year sentence was illegal due to their status as non-violent offenders. In response, perhaps with an eye on repairing Russia’s international image ahead of the Sochi Olympics, President Vladimir Putin announced an amnesty bill pardoning non-violent criminals. Publicly, the decree was meant to commemorate the 20th Anniversary of the 1993 Russian constitution, but it’s clear that it was released as a result of the Supreme Court ruling.

Tolokonnikov and Alyokhina were originally arrested after performing a short anti-Putin “punk prayer” in front of a cathedral in Feb. 2012, and were eventually convicted of “hooliganism motivated by religious hatred” and sentenced to two years in a penal colony. Both are serving their time in Siberian labor camps, and Tolokonnikova is currently in a prison hospital due to an undisclosed illness.

Paul McCartney, Bruce Springsteen, Madonna and other celebrities from around the world have protested the incarceration since the beginning, calling on Putin to end the incarceration. Tolokonnikov and Alyokhina, both of whom are mothers of young children, were previously due to be released in March.

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