Pussy Riot members freed from prison

6:09 AM, Dec 20, 2013   |    comments
Pussy Riot, Maria Alyokhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, sit in a glass-walled cage in a court in Moscow on Oct. 10, 2012. (Photo: NATALIA KOLESNIKOVA, AFP/Getty Images)
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Pussy Riot members Nadya Tolokonnikova, 24, and Maria Alekhina, 25, were released from prison, three months before their scheduled release, according to Reuters. The two women and fellow band member Yekaterina Samutsevich were arrested for performing
Punk Prayer: Mother of God Drive Putin Away from Moscow's Christ the Saviour Cathedral on February 21, 2012. Their crime: "hooliganism motivated by religious hatred or hostility."

While Samutsevich successfully appealed her sentence, the other two punk rockers remained, despite global cries for the their release. Earlier this week, a new Russian amnesty law was passed. According to The Associated Press, prisoners "who haven't committed violent crimes, first-time offenders, minors and women with small children" are granted amnesty from their imprisonment. During their time, Alekhina went on a hunger strike and Tolokonnikova wrote an open letter, protesting the treatment of prisoners. Just days after that letter was posted, she disappeared for 21 days during a prison transfer, showing up in a Siberian prison hospital.

In a news conference, President Vladimir Putin expressed no regret for the Pussy Riot members. "I was not sorry that they ended up behind bars," he said. "I was sorry that they were engaged in such disgraceful behaviour, which in my view was degrading to the dignity of women."

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