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  • Dec 20, 2014
  • Updated: 8:14pm
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RUSSIA

Two jailed Pussy Riot members may be freed under Putin amnesty

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 11 December, 2013, 10:37pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 11 December, 2013, 10:37pm
 

Two jailed Pussy Riot members could be freed early under a general amnesty backed by Russian President Vladimir Putin, but anti-Kremlin ex-tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky is unlikely to benefit, according to a draft bill.

Far from being freed early under the amnesty, Khodorkovsky risks a third trial that could keep him in prison beyond his release date of August next year after prosecutors revealed he was being probed over new charges.

The Russian parliament published a draft proposal for a prison amnesty that would include Pussy Riot's Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina, albeit just three months before their two-year sentences end.

The proposal does not list specific cases but says it applies to those convicted or charged with certain more minor offences such as hooliganism.

The Pussy Riot activists were convicted of hooliganism for a protest against Putin in a church.

Also, the 30 Greenpeace crew members from 19 countries bailed on hooliganism charges over a protest against Arctic energy drilling could be allowed to leave Russia after their case raised international concerns. The bill could also cover some of the activists detained in May last year at a Moscow protest against Putin ahead of his inauguration for a third term.

Putin submitted the amnesty bill, which means its approval by parliament should be a formality.

Khodorkovsky, who has been in jail for 10 years and has been convicted twice of fraud and embezzlement, does not qualify because "his sentence was for more than five years", said lawmaker Pavel Krasheninnikov.

With less than a year left to serve, Khodorkovsky now risks a further trial.

Deputy Prosecutor General Alexander Zvyagintsev warned "there are several criminal cases under investigation involving him and several other people".

The Interfax news agency reported the new case involved money laundering.

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