Putin May Grant Amnesty To Pussy Riot Members

Written by Nastassia Baroni on 10th December, 2013

Putin May Grant Amnesty To Pussy Riot Members

Russian media is reporting an amnesty bill drafted by President Vladimir Putin could free thousands of Russian prisoners, including the two jailed members of the punk band Pussy Riot.

The bill, which Putin has submitted to parliament, outlines Russia’s biggest amnesty in 20 years, in order to mark the Russian constitution’s 20th anniversary on Thursday. While it does not specifically name the people to be pardoned, it lists the categories covered.

‘Hooliganism’ is one of such categories covered by the new amnesty, which will also apply to women who have young children and who have not committed violent crimes. That means it would cover Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina of the punk protest band Pussy Riot. They are serving two-year jail terms after staging a protest in a Moscow Cathedral in February 2012.

The hooliganism clause would also mean amnesty for the 30 Greenpeace activists, including three Australian residents, currently on bail and awaiting trial following a protest at a Russian Arctic oil rig.

According to RT, deputy speaker of the Duma, Vladimir Vasilyev, said about 25,000 people would benefit from the amnesty, most of whom were not given prison terms. “Around 1,300 people will be released from prison, and 17,500 people will be relieved of non-custodial sentences. In addition, criminal proceedings against nearly 6,000 can be terminated,” Vasilyev said.

The amnesty is expected to be approved by the Russian parliament’s lower house which is predominately made up of Putin supporters.


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