Pussy Riot Members, Greenpeace Campaigners To Be Freed Under Putin’s Amnesty: Russian Media

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  • Pussy Riot members
    Nadezhda Tolokonnikova (L) and Maria Alyokhina, members of female punk band "Pussy Riot", look out from the defendent's cell in a courtroom in Moscow July 30, 2012.
  • Greenpeace protest
    Greenpeace activists in Hong Kong carry portraits of their detained colleagues as they protest outside the Russian Consulate in Hong Kong September 27, 2013.
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Two members of the band, Pussy Riot, and 30 Greenpeace campaigners, who are imprisoned in Russia, could be freed under an amnesty drafted by President Vladimir Putin, Russian media reported on Monday.

Putin’s amnesty bill, which was submitted in the parliament on Monday, will free as many as 25,000 people, according to Deputy Speaker Vladimir Vasilyev who was quoted by Russia’s non-governmental Interfax news agency.

The bill does not contain names and no officials have specifically mentioned that Pusssy Riot members and Greenpeace campaigners will be released. However, the amnesty applies to women who have children and are not charged with violent crimes, and both Pussy Riot members have children.

“Around 1,300 people will be released from prison, and 17,500 people will be relieved of non-custodial sentences. In addition, criminal proceedings against nearly 6,000 can be terminated,” Vasilyev said, RT reported.

American environmental campaigner Peter Willcox is among the Greenpeace activists who were detained on charges of piracy, over a protest against oil drilling in the Arctic, in a case that has stirred a furor worldwide.

Twenty-eight campaigners and two freelance journalists were on board the Dutch-flagged Greenpeace protest ship, Arctic Sunrise, when they were taken into Russian custody, after two activists tried to scale a Barents Sea oil platform, which is owned by Russian state-run energy company Gazprom, in a protest in September.

Pussy Riot members, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alekhina, have been sentenced to two years of imprisonment over charges of hooliganism for protesting at Moscow’s main cathedral in February 2012.

Interfax reported that the amnesty also applies to some opposition activists jailed in the Bolotnaya case, which involved scuffles in Moscow's Bolotnaya Square in May 2012.

Last week, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev had suggested that Pussy Riot members may not be freed under the amnesty, saying Russians were “not inclined” to pardon those who had committed violent crimes and “crimes against society including hooliganism,” believed to be in reference to Pussy Riot and Bolotnaya protesters, Associated Press reported.

However, several Russian media outlets that have obtained a copy of the draft amnesty said Pussy Riot members, Greenpeace activists and Bolotnaya protesters would be granted amnesty.

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