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GOOD NEWS: Pussy Riot freed!

    December 23, 2013

    It's great news that the two remaining member of Pussy Riot behind bars, Maria Alekhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, have been freed by Russian authorities. They spent nearly two years in prison, and throughout that time tens of thousands of you have taken action. 

    See more Good News stories

    But more still needs to be done, and Russia’s Amnesty Law, under which they and others were released, is no substitute for an effective, independent justice system.

    For more information on how Amnesty International is working in Russia, follow this link to our 2014 Sochi Olympic Campaign.

    Pussy Riot are free, but what about Mikhail Kosenko?

    By Naomi W, Orginally published by Amnesty International UK on December 23, 2013

    When Pussy Riot member Nadia Tolokonnikova was freed this week in Putin’s much-reported prisoner amnesty, she accused the Russian government of merely putting on “another show ahead of the Olympics…such is their big desire to prevent all European countries from boycotting our [Games]."

    Released with fellow band member Maria Alyokhina and around 20,000 other prisoners across Russia,  as she walked out of jail Nadia told journalists there are many others who are “not much talked about and are even forgotten but who still need to come out of their jails as they don't belong here".

    It’s hard to see how the amnesty is anything but a politically expedient move, coming just weeks before the Winter Olympics in Sochi to which some countries are only sending low key delegations (or none), citing human rights concerns. Oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky has also been released and charges are set to be dropped against the Arctic 30 Greenpeace activists, ensuring headlines around the world.

    Many of those ‘forgotten’ prisoners have been on the receiving end of new laws that restrict the right to freedom of expression and speech - laws that have seen peaceful protesters put behind bars, gay rights trampled on and NGOs silenced.

    Mikhail Kosenko is one of them. In May last year he joined the crowds in Moscow’s Bolotnaya Square to protest peacefully against what he believed were rigged elections that returned Putin to power.

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