December 6, 2013 18:51

Pussy Riot not expected to be freed in Russian prisoner amnesty

Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said those jailed for "hooliganism" will not be released

Pussy Riot not expected to be freed in Russian prisoner amnesty

Photo: PA

Pussy Riot's Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina are not expected to be amongst the prisoners freed in a forthcoming Russian amnesty.

The country's Prime Minister, Dmitry Medvedev, has spoken about the passing of a bill which will see thousands of prisoners released. However, in comments made earlier today (December 6) on Russian television, he said he was "not inclined" to release prisoners who had committed "crimes against society including hooliganism", reports The Guardian. It is thought that this is an obvious reference to the jailed activists, who are both serving two-year sentences for breach of public order motivated by religious hatred. The sentences were handed to them in August 2012 after the band performed their now infamous 'punk prayer' protest against President Vladimir Putin at the Cathedral of Christ The Saviour in Moscow in February 2012. They are set for release next year.

Last month it was reported that Pussy Riot's Nadezhda Tolokonnikova was back in hospital after being moved to a remote prison colony in Siberia. On November 14, prison authorities confirmed that the jailed Pussy Riot member had been moved to a new prison thousands of miles away from her family and friends in Siberia, after weeks of uncertainly about her whereabouts.

Her husband Pyotr Verzilov told AFP that Tolokonnikova had been weakened by her recent hunger strike and was currently residing in a hospital for convicts in the Siberian Krasnoyarsk region being treated for health complications that followed her hunger strike.

"She is not happy with the isolation of her transfer, but she is content that her conditions have been met," he told the news agency. After being moved from her old prison in central Russia's Mordovia region her whereabouts were unknown for 24 days, leading her family and friends to suggest she had gone missing.

Earlier this autumn Tolokonnikova published a letter alleging prison abuse and held a hunger strike in protest. She suspended her hunger strike after nine days and was treated in hospital.

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