Russia

Pussy Riot Members Freed from Prison

Three months ahead of scheduled release, which counts as mercy for Russia

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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.

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