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Kremlin Amnesty Bill Could Mean Early Release for Pussy Riot

Could also pardon members of Greenpeace

After all the drama last month surrounding imprisoned Pussy Riot member Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and her 3-week disappearance into the Russian prison transport system before turning up in Siberia, a new amnesty bill presented by Vladimir Putin to the Russian Parliament could set her free early, along with Maria Alekhina, the other Pussy Rioter currently behind bars.

As NPR reports, the Izvestia (a Kremlin-friendly daily newspaper) first reported the amnesty bill’s existence on Monday, which is set to coincide with the 20th anniversary of the Russian Constitution. While the bill does not specifically mention names, it references the release of prisoners who have committed non-violent crimes, including women with children. As both Tolokonnikova and Aklekhina are mothers, they would technically qualify for early release. The bill also would potentially grant pardons to a number of others awaiting trial or on probation, including 30 crew members of a Greenpeace ship who protested the drilling for oil in the Russian arctic, among others. The third convicted Pussy Riot member whose sentence was suspended, Yekaterina Samutsevich, could also be officially pardoned if the amnesty passes.

RT News cites Interfax as quoting deputy speaker of Parliament Vladimir Vasilyev regarding the bill: “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 also said he expects the bill to pass quickly, although no date has been set for a vote.

The three members of Pussy Riot were convicted in 2012 of “hooliganism” for their anti-Putin demonstration of a “punk prayer” in a Moscow cathedral. The two remaining jailed members are slated for release in March 2014. It won’t be known whether they will be included in the amnesty until it passes the lower house of Parliament.

(Photo: Denis Bochkarev/Wikimedia)


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About the Author

on MUSIC IS MY OXYGEN WEEKLY.

David Tillman is an independent composer/arranger whose primary work involves writing jingles for commercials for radio and television, with several film and television placements to his credit as well. David has a fascination for all things related to the music business and the music industry in general, an obsession which his wife finds to be mildly unhealthy at times. His personal tastes in music are in electronica and industrial rock, and include The Chemical Brothers, Daft Punk and Nine Inch Nails (he loves that Trent Reznor is writing soundtracks!). When not in his office or in his man-cave, David enjoys skiing, hiking, the occasional game of golf, and sometimes just lounging by the pool. David lives with his wife and three children in Los Angeles, CA.

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