Russian PM calls for Pussy Riot's release
Thu, 13 Sep 2012 9:28a.m.
Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has called for three members of the punk band Pussy Riot to be freed, saying further prison time would be "unproductive".
Medvedev's comments on Wednesday could signal the band members' imminent release as their case comes up for appeal on October 1.
The women had already spent more than five months in jail when they were convicted in August of "hooliganism driven by religious hatred" and sentenced to two years in prison.
"Keeping them in custody during the quite significant period of time is enough to make them realise what has happened in their lives because of their foolishness," Medvedev told United Russia supporters in televised address on Wednesday.
"That's why the extension of keeping them in custody in my opinion is unproductive. In their case, I think, a suspended sentence would be quite enough taking into account the time they have already spent in jail," he added, claiming the band's action made him "feel sick".
They were arrested after performing a raucous prayer inside Moscow's main cathedral asking Virgin Mary to save Russia from President Vladimir Putin.
The imprisonment of the women - Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, 23; Maria Alekhina, 24; and Yekaterina Samutsevich, 29 - has drawn protests around the world as it highlighted Putin's intensifying crackdown on dissent.
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