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Pussy Riot member released from prison

Pussy Riot Member Released from Jail

UPDATE: KRASNOYARSK, Russia (AP) - 3rd member of Pussy Riot punk band released from Russian custody following amnesty.

MOSCOW (AP) - A member of the Russian punk band Pussy Riot was released from prison Monday, saying that the amnesty bill that gave her freedom was a Kremlin public relations stunt.

Maria Alekhina was one of two band members who were granted amnesty last week, which was 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.

The release of the other, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, is pending. The third member, Yekaterina Samutsevich, was released on suspended sentence months after all three 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.

The band members insisted 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.

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.

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.

Alekhina told Dozhd TV channel that she was "too shocked" when she was released from the prison colony to grasp what was going on.

She also said she would have stayed behind bars to serve her term which was to end in March if she was free to turn it down.

"I had a chance to turn it down, I would have done it, no doubt about that," she told Dozhd. "This is not an amnesty. This is a hoax and a PR move."

She said the amnesty bill covers less than 10 percent of the prison population and only a fraction of women with children behind bars. Women convicted of grave crimes, even if they have children, are not eligible for amnesty.

Alkhina complained that prison officials did not give her a chance to say goodbye to cell mates, but put her in a car and drove her to the train station in downtown Nizhny Novgorod.

Once at the train station, Alekhina drove away to meet with local human rights activists, Khrunova told The Associated Press.

In a cell phone picture posted online, Alekhina was seen wearing a dark green prison jacket with a sticker on her chest with her name on it.

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

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 reaching the verdict.

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tropic258 December 23 2013 at 10:31 AM

These girls have no talent. No one has ever heard them sing. No one had ever heard of them period before this episode. Why are they newsworthy? Because of their vulgar name only it seems. An excuse maybe for the media to throw out this vulgar term and legitimize it. Don't give me the excuse this was a matter of free speech and protest. They were charged with breaking and entering and trespassing. I guess any criminal who is caught red handed now can plead free speech. There are more important people in prison in Russia for protesting bigger legitimate issues the media never mentions.. Gee I wonder why? Maybe because today's crowd can identify with dumbed down vulgar no bodies that parade themselves constantly in front of us?

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1 reply
dcbrandtpd tropic258 December 23 2013 at 2:47 PM

Yeah, because we all know how talented Katy Perry is...

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lightyrs1 December 23 2013 at 1:26 PM

Maybe they can move to America, land of the free. Yeah, right! LOL

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mike December 23 2013 at 12:58 PM

IMHO, the politically autocorrect is going a little overboard. look at the story, says very plainly, ***** Riot. when a comment is made that uses the same name, that comes out ***** Riot. savvy posters know they can get around the politically autocorrect by typing in Pu5sy Riot, or Pus5y Riot, or the more familiar Pu55y Riot. it just seems to me, tho, that if the name can be written out in the story, posters ought to be able to write out the same name without running afoul of the politically autocorrect. i mean, what's the big deal about a kitteh free-for-all?

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1 reply
wlh1923 mike December 23 2013 at 2:47 PM

Did you REALLY just waste all that time dithering about the autocorrect function????

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mypolski December 23 2013 at 8:18 AM

As a punk rock fan from the origins in the '70s, this band has the best name for a female band EVER!

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PACRIMCO December 23 2013 at 12:36 PM

It always seems to take little people working synergistically to make big changes. The only constant is change. Considering the Putin regime, this too shall pass. History makes strange bedfellows when you consider ***** Riot juxtaposing Putin Riot.

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1 reply
mike PACRIMCO December 23 2013 at 12:49 PM

hey, that's funny; Huffpost can use the band's name, but posters are apparently breaking a taboo when they write out Pu5sy Riot. heck, all the name denotes are cats engaging in a melee. what's the big deal, anyway? B-)

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1 reply
redcoat1 mike December 23 2013 at 5:51 PM

The simple answer Mike is, you are offending the AOL gay Libs

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Ed December 23 2013 at 9:56 AM

There's nothing like a released "*****..."

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beemerboxer December 23 2013 at 11:10 AM

Putin, once a high ranking KGB officer overlording the former DDR STASI, is intent on taking Russia back to the time of autocrats like Tsar Nicholas and Stalin; both of these men came from opposite ends of the political spectrum but were tryrants nonetheless. Putin has manipulated power and supressed democracy in Russia since grasping office; this amnesty is a stunt meant to take the world's attention away from Russia's diminishing freedoms in time for the Winter Olympics.

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Rich December 23 2013 at 11:05 AM

Who said communism was dead?

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wssweeps December 23 2013 at 12:02 PM

I thought ***** was an offensive word? I don't think they like the c word either.

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ggblank1603 December 23 2013 at 10:35 AM

Have never seen a ***** Riot before

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