News

Pussy Riot Members Could Be Freed Under Russian Amnesty Bill

by Jillian Steinhauer on December 18, 2013

Pussy Riot members Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Yekaterina Samutsevich, and Maria Alyokhina at the verdict of their trial (screenshot via YouTube)

Pussy Riot members Maria Alekhina, Yekaterina Samutsevich, and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova at the verdict of their trial (screenshot via YouTube)

The Russian Parliament has passed an amnesty bill that should send the two members of Pussy Riot still serving prison sentences home, the AP reports. The bill, passed unanimously by all 446 members of the State Duma, grants amnesty people who haven’t committed violent crimes, first-time offenders, minors, and women with small children. That includes an estimated 2,000 people, including the 30 Greenpeace activists detained this fall and Pussy Riot members Maria Alekhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, who both have small children.

Despite the seeming good news, critics say the bill is “complicated” and “appeared to leave many questions open.” It will go into effect as soon as it’s published in the government newspaper, likely tomorrow, but allows for six months to carry out the process. Not only that, but prisoners must apply for their amnesty to prison officials, who will then determine if the prisoners are eligible, based in part on whether they’ve committed “disciplinary offenses” while serving time. Here’s hoping hunger strikes don’t count.

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