Do "Pretty Girls Make Graves"? ...O, Get Off The Stage, already!

Do “Pretty Girls Make Graves”? …O, Get Off The Stage, already!

MOSCOW — A jailed member of the Russian punk band Pussy Riot, who was found guilty of hooliganism after a performance critical of President Vladimir Putin, has been released from prison.

Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Yekaterina Samutsevich were found guilty of hooliganism motivated by religious hatred and sentenced to two years in prison for the performance at Moscow’s main cathedral in March 2012. Samutsevich was released several months later on suspended sentence.

The band insisted that their protest was meant to raise their concern about increasingly close ties between the state and the church.

Alekhina was released from the prison colony outside the Volga river city of Nizhny Novgorod on Monday morning, said, Irina Khrunova, her lawyer.

Khrunova told The Associated Press that upon release Alekhina went into town to meet with human rights activists.

Alekhina told the Russian TV channel Dozhd by the phone that she will now devote her life to defending human rights.

In a cell phone picture posted online Alekhina was seen wearing a dark green prison jacket with a sticker on the chest with her name on it. Alekhina told Dozhd she was “too shocked” when she was released from the prison colony to grasp what was going on.

The Russian parliament passed an amnesty bill last week, allowing the release of thousands of inmates. Alekhina and Tolokonnikova qualify for amnesty because they have small children. The amnesty has been largely viewed as the Kremlin’s attempt to soothe criticism of Russia’s human rights records ahead of the Winter Olympics in Sochi in February.

Alekhina’s release comes days after Putin pardoned Mikhail Khodorkovsky, a former oil tycoon and once Russia’s richest man, who spent a decade in prison after challenging Putin’s power. Khodorkovsky flew to Germany after release and said he will stay out of politics. He pledged, however, to fight for the release of political prisoners in Russia.

Tolokonnikova, who is serving time in a Siberian prison, is also expected to be released this week, her husband Pyotr Verzilov said.

Both bandmates were scheduled for release in March.

Russia’s Supreme Court earlier this month ordered a review of the Pussy Riot case, saying that a lower court did not fully prove their guilt and did not take their family circumstances into consideration when passing on the verdict.


Pussy Riot, the original video of the Performance

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