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Pussy Riot punk Alyokhina freed from Russian prison

Moscow, Dec 23, 2014 (AFP)
Maria Alekhina, second from left, a member of the Russian punk band Pussy Riot peaks to the media at the Committee against Torture after being released from prison, in Nizhny Novgorod, on Monday, Dec. 23, 2013. Alekhina, and two other band members, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Yekaterina Samutsevich, were found guilty of hooliganism motivated by religious hatred and sentenced to two years in prison for the performance at Moscow's main cathedral in March 2012. Samutsevich was released several months later on suspended sentence. AP

One of the jailed members of Russian punk band Pussy Riot, Maria Alyokhina, was freed from prison today after receiving amnesty, her lawyer and prison officials said.

"Today around 9 a.m. she walked out to freedom," said the spokeswoman of the prison service in Nizhny Novgorod Yelena Nikishova.

"I don't know what her further plans are," she said.

Her lawyer Pyotr Zaikin told RIA Novosti that the 25-year-old was apparently headed to the train station in the city in a prison convoy.

Reporters waiting for Alyokhina by her colony number two in Nizhny Novgorod did not get a chance to speak with her after she was whisked away, her other lawyer told AFP.

"She is being driven away in a black car, which probably belongs to the head of the colony," said Irina Khrunova.

"They didn't hand her over to her lawyer, probably to avoid a media frenzy," she said.Alyokhina and bandmate Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, 24, whose two-year sentences for hooliganism in a Moscow church would have run out in early March, were granted amnesty last week after parliament approved a Kremlin-backed bill.

The two women were convicted and jailed on charges of hooliganism motivated by religious hatred after staging a "punk prayer" in Moscow's largest cathedral in Februrary 2012, ahead of Vladimir Putin's reelection, to protest the Orthodox Church's support of the strongman during the campaign.†


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