After Khodorkovsky, Russia frees Pussy Riot member Maria Alyokhina
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Last Updated: Tuesday, December 24, 2013, 01:05
  
Zee Media Bureau

Moscow: Slamming her release as a mere 'PR stunt' by Vladimir Putin, freed punk band Pussy Riot member, Maria Alyokhina has said that she would have refused the amnesty and preferred to stay behind bars, if she was given an option.

Another fellow bandmate, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, was also freed hours after Maria's release.

Speaking to a Russian TV channel Maria Alyokhina said that her release was not an amnesty but a 'profanation'.

"I don't think the amnesty is a humanitarian act, I think it's a PR stunt. If I had a choice to refuse I would," she added.

Maria Alyokhina, was freed three months before her scheduled release under a newly introduced Amnesty law, her lawyer was reported as saying on Monday.

Maria Alyokhina's lawyer Pyotr Zaikin told a Russian news agency that she “walked out to freedom” as "all of the documents had been completed and signed."

Alyokhina and her band-mates were arrested in 2012 and jailed for two years for their protest against President Vladimir Putin in a Moscow church.

They were due to be freed in March 2014, however her early release has been facilitated by the Amnesty law introduced recently by Russian Parliament.

Her release comes just days after the release of jailed Russian oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky, who was also the major political foe of Putin.

Having spent 10 years in jail, Khodorkovsky walked free out of jail on Friday after President Vladimir Putin signed a decree pardoning him. 

Khordorkovsky, who has already spent over a decade in jail, was convicted of crimes including fraud, theft and money laundering and arrested in 2003. 

Kremlin opponents say that the tycoon was framed as he was posing a threat to Putin and hence was his top political enemy. 

Other than Khodorkovsky and Pussy Riot members, Putin is also expected to free Greenpeace activists.

The slew of early releases by Putin is said to be an attempt at placating the international chorus of criticism against Russia’s human rights record ahead of February's Winter Olympics in Sochi.

Putin’s move is said to be an attempt at placating the international chorus of criticism against Russia’s human rights record ahead of February's Winter Olympics in Sochi.


First Published: Monday, December 23, 2013, 12:13


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