Eldest Pussy Riot Member Released as Two Others Headed to Prison Colony

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Oct. 10 2012 4:20 PM

Eldest Pussy Riot Member Released as Two Others Headed to Prison Colony

Yekaterina Samutsevich, the oldest member of imprisoned Russian punk band Pussy Riot, was released from jail after her lawyers successfully argued she had not fully participated in the anti-Putin “Punk Prayer” the band staged in a Moscow cathedral.

The three-member punk and performance art collective was arrested in March and charged with “hooliganism” after entering the Catherdral of Christ the Saviour and performing a politically charged song that invoked the Virgin Mary to “drive Putin away” on the eve of his re-election. The women’s story generated international outrage when they were held for six months without bail then sentenced to two years in prison for their stunt. Amnesty International referred to the conviction as “a bitter blow for freedom of expression.”

As Samutsevich is released, the remaining two members will soon be sent to prison colonies to serve their sentences. The women maintain they didn't intend to be offensive and are instead being punished for opposing Putin, who has said he played no role in the case and that Pussy Riot "got what they asked for."

Chris Wade is a producer for Slate Video and occasional contributor to Brow Beat. Follow him on Twitter.

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