Pussy Riot's Tolokonnikova and Alyokhina Released From Prison
Published: December 23, 2013 (Issue # 1791)
Pussy Riot activist Nadezhda Tolokonnikova was amnestied and released Monday from the hospital where she was serving her prison sentence.
Tolokonnikova left the hospital property in the mid-afternoon, following in the footsteps of fellow convicted Pussy Riot member Maria Aklyokhina, who was released early Monday morning from the prison in the Nizhny Novgorod region where was was being held.
The two members of the Pussy Riot punk group were set to remain incarcerated until March on charges of hooliganism for staging a "punk prayer" at Moscow's Christ the Savior cathedral in February 2012, but were pardoned under a broad amnesty signed by President Vladimir Putin last week.
Earlier, Alyokhina had been asking for "legal means" to avoid her planned release on amnesty because she was worried for the safety of the other inmates at the prison colony, her friend Taisia Polyakova, who visited Alyokhina on Thursday, said.
Alyokhina said other inmates had received threats from the prison administration, and she wanted to serve out her term to help protect them, Polyakova said, Dozhd television reported.
Alyokhina did not want to violate the prison regime – a move that would have put her into an isolation cell and delayed her release – because it would have removed her from other inmates and prevented her from looking out for them, Polyakova said.
Since no "legal means" to avoid the amnesty appeared to be available, Alyohkina said that after her release, she would ask human rights monitors to help protect her friends in prison, Polyakova said.