Skip to main content

Russia amnesty could free Pussy Riot, benefit Greenpeace members

By CNN Staff
updated 2:05 PM EST, Wed December 18, 2013
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Russian lawmakers back sweeping amnesty law
  • Pussy Riot members, Greenpeace activists seen affected by law
  • Amnesty to take effect December 19 -report
  • Russia's human rights record in spotlight as country prepares for Winter Olympics in Sochi

(CNN) -- Russian lawmakers backed a sweeping amnesty law Wednesday that could see jailed members of the Pussy Riot punk protest band released early and arrested Greenpeace activists avoiding prison, the state-run RIA Novosti news agency reported.

The law received enough votes in favor in the Duma that it does not require President Vladimir Putin's signature, Ria Novosti said.

The amnesty, to mark the anniversary of the adoption of Russia's post-Communist constitution in 1993, will be applied to thousands of Russian prisoners, the agency reported.

It is due to take effect on Thursday, according to the Russian government daily newspaper, Rossiyskaya Gazeta.

Pussy Riot members' hunger strikes
Pussy Riot husband describes Navalny
Pussy Riot documentary director on band

Pussy Riot's Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina are serving two-year jail terms for their part in a performance critical of Putin, when he was Prime Minister.

The performance was held at a Russian Orthodox cathedral in 2012, and the musicians were found guilty of hooliganism.

The women, set to complete their sentences in coming months, have young children and would therefore qualify for the amnesty, RIA Novosti said.

In September, 30 people were arrested after a Greenpeace protest at an offshore oil platform in the Arctic and charged with hooliganism. They were told they would face trial.

"With the amnesty also extended to individuals on trial, however, the group may be free from prosecution and its foreign members be allowed to return home," RIA Novosti said.

Russia's record on human rights is in the spotlight as the country prepares to host the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi in February.

READ: Opinion: What has happened to Pussy Riot's Nadya?

CNN's Olga Pavlova in Moscow and Marie-Louise Gumuchian in London contributed to this report

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 12:35 PM EDT, Thu April 17, 2014
The possibility of pockets of air remaining within the hull of the sunken South Korean ferry offers hope to rescuers -- and relatives -- say experts.
updated 7:45 AM EDT, Thu April 17, 2014
Despite hundreds still missing after the sinking of a South Korean ferry, reports of text messages keep hope alive that there may be survivors yet.
updated 12:14 PM EDT, Thu April 17, 2014
An Iranian mother slaps and then forgives her 17-year old son's murderer in dramatic scenes at the gallows.
updated 8:37 AM EDT, Wed April 16, 2014
Mentions of the 1989 Tiananmen Square student protests or political reform are still censored in China.
updated 5:31 PM EDT, Wed April 16, 2014
Russia's propaganda worse now than at height of Cold War, says Leon Aron, director of Russian studies at AEI.
Sanctions imposed against Russia are working as a deterrent, President Barack Obama and other White House senior administration officials said.
updated 12:40 AM EDT, Thu April 17, 2014
A lack of progress in the search for MH370 is angering the families of victims.
updated 11:09 AM EDT, Wed April 16, 2014
The searches for the Titanic and Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 share common techniques.
updated 7:35 AM EDT, Wed April 16, 2014
An "extraordinary" video shows what looks like the largest and most dangerous gathering of al Qaeda in years.
updated 11:35 PM EDT, Wed April 16, 2014
This year's Pyongyang marathon was open to foreign amateurs.
updated 8:30 AM EDT, Mon April 14, 2014
Explore each side's case, reconstructed from Pistorius' court affidavit and the prosecution's case during last year's bail hearing.
updated 1:53 PM EDT, Wed April 16, 2014
How are police preparing for this year's 26.2-mile marathon, which takes place Monday?
updated 1:02 PM EDT, Tue April 15, 2014
Katrina Karkazis
Romance is hard, for anyone. For people with intersex traits, love poses unique challenges.
updated 5:26 PM EDT, Wed April 16, 2014
The "kill switch," a system for remotely disabling smartphones and wiping their data, will become standard in 2015.
updated 11:52 AM EDT, Thu April 17, 2014
Browse through images you don't always see on news reports from CNN teams around the world.
ADVERTISEMENT