Russia: Pussy Riot and Greenpeace Activists to be Released in Putin Amnesty

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By Jack Moore | December 10, 2013 4:14 AM EST

Members of the band Pussy Riot, the Arctic 30 Greenpeace activists and protesters imprisoned after the 2012 Bolotnaya demonstration are to be freed in an amnesty marking the 20th anniversary of the Russian constitution, according to the Izvestia newspaper.

It cited leaked details of a draft amnesty bill submitted by President Vladimir Putin to the state duma or parliament. Approximately 25,000 people would be freed, according Vladimir Vasilyev, the deputy speaker of the Russian parliament.

"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.

He added that the amnesty would not apply to those regarded as a serious danger.

The amnesty would be adopted within the next month and implemented within the next six months, an influential parliamentary source said.

Members of the Pussy Riot feminist punk band were sentenced to two years each in prison after staging an anti-Putin protest in Moscow Cathedral in February 2012.

The 30 Greenpeace activists are on bail and awaiting trial after attempting to board the Russian Prirazlomnaya oil platform in September.

Despite the leak, prime minister Dmitry Medvedev suggested that Pussy Riot and former tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky might not be included in the amnesty.

Medvedev said the Russian government opposed releasing those "who committed violent crimes, crimes against society, including hooliganism, state crimes [and] major embezzlement".

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