• Sun
  • Sep 21, 2014
  • Updated: 2:07pm
NewsWorld
RUSSIA

Jailed Pussy Riot members, 'Arctic 30' set to benefit from Amnesty in Russia

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 19 December, 2013, 1:44am
UPDATED : Thursday, 19 December, 2013, 1:44am

Russia's parliament yesterday adopted an amnesty which lawyers said would free two jailed members of punk band Pussy Riot and enable 30 people arrested in a Greenpeace protest against Arctic oil drilling to avoid trial.

The State Duma, or lower house, unanimously approved the amnesty proposed by President Vladimir Putin to mark the 20th anniversary of the passage of Russia's post-Soviet constitution.

Human rights activists say the amnesty is far too narrow, freeing only a tiny fraction of Russia's more than half a million prisoners.

But lawyers said it would lead to the early release of Pussy Riot members Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina, whose two-year sentences over an anti-Putin protest in a Moscow cathedral have been criticised in the West as excessive.

Greenpeace said an amendment added hours before the vote would almost certainly end legal proceedings against 30 people who faced jail terms of up to seven years over a protest at an Arctic offshore oil platform in September, allowing the 26 foreigners among them, from 17 countries, to go home.

A lawyer for Tolokonnikova and Alyokhina, whose prison terms end in March, said she hoped they would walk free within days.The amnesty will take effect when it is published in the official government gazette, which is expected today.

The "Arctic 30" were arrested after Russian coastguards boarded the Greenpeace icebreaker Arctic Sunrise following a September 18 protest in which some of the activists tried to scale a Russian oil platform in the Arctic.

They were charged with hooliganism, jailed in stark conditions for two months and have been unable to leave Russia since their release on bail.

Share

For unlimited access to:

SCMP.com SCMP Tablet Edition SCMP Mobile Edition 10-year news archive
 
 

 

 
 
 
 
 

Login

SCMP.com Account

or