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Putin: Amnesty to free Pussy Riot duo despite 'disgraceful' protest

Published on Dec 19, 2013 9:47 PM
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Two jailed members of the all-girl punk band Pussy Riot, (from left) Maria Alyokhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, sitting in a glass-walled cage in a court in Moscow, on Oct 10, 2012. Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday, Dec 19, 2013, two jailed members of the punk band Pussy Riot would be freed under an amnesty but described their protest against him in a church as disgraceful. -- FILE PHOTO: AFP 

MOSCOW (REUTERS) - Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday two jailed members of the punk band Pussy Riot would be freed under an amnesty but described their protest against him in a church as disgraceful.

Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, 24, and Maria Alyokhina, 25, are serving a two-year jail sentence for performing a crude "punk prayer" against Mr Putin and his ties to the Russian Orthodox church in Moscow's main cathedral.

The two women had been due for release in March but are now expected to be freed sooner under the amnesty, in part because both are mothers of small children.

The amnesty will also enable 30 people arrested in a Greenpeace protest against Arctic oil drilling to avoid trial - removing two irritants in ties with the West before Russia hosts the Winter Olympics in February.

 
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