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One Member Of Pussy Riot Freed
Laurie Tuffrey , October 10th, 2012 07:54

Court frees Yekaterina Samutsevich, but upholds two-year sentences for other two members

One member of Pussy Riot has been freed by a Moscow court after an appeal hearing, though the other two women have had their jail terms upheld [via the BBC].

Yekaterina Samutsevich, 30, will walk free today, while Maria Alyokhina, 24, and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, 22, will be sent to a penal colony to serve the rest of their sentences.

Samutsevich, who requested a new lawyer earlier this week, postponing the original date of the appeal hearing, had her sentence suspended after the three-judge panel accepted her argument that she was removed from Moscow’s Christ the Saviour cathedral by guards before she could open her guitar case and perform in the band’s ‘punk prayer’, for which they were arrested in February.

Before the verdict was returned, the band members delivered passionate speeches, explaining that their protest was against the Kremlin, not the church, and that, while they had apologised for any offence caused, they would not repent.

“For us to repent - that's unacceptable, it's a kind of blackmail,” said Alyokhina.

She added that: “We won't stay silent - even in Mordovia, or Siberia - however uncomfortable that is for you."

While Russian prime minister Dmitry Medvedev has said that a suspended sentence would have been enough, Russian president Vladimir Putin recently said that “they got what they asked for”.

Earlier this week, The New Times, a Russian magazine, posted a video on its website of Tolokonnikova inside her jail cell - watch below:

While the BBC cites a Russian poll that found that 43% of respondents thought that the sentences had been too lenient, the Guardian highlights a poll suggesting that this has not helped support for Putin, with his approval ratings falling to a significant low of 37%.

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