Freed Pussy Riot members reunited

Freed Pussy Riot members reunited
Maria Alekhina

Two members of the Russian punk band Pussy Riot were reunited today after spending nearly two years in prison for their protest at Moscow’s main cathedral and said they want to set up a human rights organisation.

Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alekhina were granted amnesty yesterday, two months short of their scheduled release, in what was seen as the Kremlin’s attempt to soothe criticism of Russia’s human rights record ahead of the Winter Olympics in Sochi in February.

Alekhina flew into the eastern Siberian city of Krasnoyarsk to meet Tolokonnikova. They have said the amnesty and their release are a publicity stunt by the Kremlin ahead of the Olympics. Tolokonnikova has called for a boycott of the Olympics.

Alekhina, still dressed in a dark green prison jacket, hugged Tolokonnikova and then shook hands.

Both women said they would like to focus their future work on helping prisoners, and they will discuss setting up a human rights organization.

The band’s third member, Yekaterina Samutsevich, was released on suspended sentence shortly after they were found guilty of hooliganism and sentenced to two years in prison in 2012 for their protest at Christ the Saviour Cathedral in Moscow.

The women have denied accusations that they were driven by hatred of religion, and said their performance was aimed at raising concern about the close ties between the church and state.

Russian parliament passed the amnesty bill last week, allowing the release of thousands of inmates, including the two Pussy Riot members.

More on this topic

Pussy Riot activist ‘may have taken overdose of medication’Pussy Riot activist ‘may have taken overdose of medication’

Pussy Riot pair released in SochiPussy Riot pair released in Sochi

Pussy Riot members held in SochiPussy Riot members held in Sochi

Pussy Riot: We will still resist PutinPussy Riot: We will still resist Putin

More in this Section

Canadian actress and activist Shirley Douglas dies aged 86Canadian actress and activist Shirley Douglas dies aged 86

Firefighters work to contain forest fires near Chernobyl nuclear siteFirefighters work to contain forest fires near Chernobyl nuclear site

Grocery workers get recognition for vital work and risks they face during crisisGrocery workers get recognition for vital work and risks they face during crisis

Taliban claim peace deal with US in Afghanistan is being violatedTaliban claim peace deal with US in Afghanistan is being violated


Lifestyle

Holidays are on hold, but we can still see the world from our homes.  Tom Breathnach presents his guide to armchair tourismA virtual tour of the world: Visit iconic landmarks from the comfort of your armchair

More From The Irish Examiner