Added: Teryn Lamere - Date: 25.12.2021 22:37 - Views: 27644 - Clicks: 9657

In less than three years, Pussy Riot has morphed from a little-known feminist protest band to an international cause celebre.

As its two jailed members are freed from prison under an amnesty, the BBC News website recaps the group's story so far. Pussy Riot was founded inbut shot to greater prominence after appearing in Moscow's Cathedral of Christ the Saviour in Februaryto perform an obscenity-laced song called Punk Prayer which attacked the Orthodox Church's support for President Vladimir Putin.

Several weeks after the cathedral stunt - which was was broken up by church officials - Maria Alyokhina, Yekaterina Samutsevich and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova were arrested and charged with "hooliganism motivated by religious hatred". They were held without bail until their trial in late July when free were convicted and sentenced to two years in prison.

Samutsevich was freed on probation in Octoberbut Tolokonnikova and Alyokhina remained in jail. The case divided Russia with many feeling the women were being too harshly treated and made examples of as part of attempts to clamp down on opposition to the government. But others felt their actions were free gross offence to the Orthodox faith. The trio's fate attracted much international attention. Musicians like Sting, the Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Madonna and Yoko Ono called for their release, while human free groups deated them prisoners of conscience.

Pussy Riot's distinctive coloured balaclavas became a widely-recognised symbol. The women - both mothers of young children - faced tough conditions inside Russia's prison system and had a of parole requests turned down. Tolokonnikova above left complained of abuses by prison staff and went on hunger strike.

The pair's sentences were due to end in Marchbut their release became inevitable in December after an amnesty law was ed by the Russian parliament, covering at least 20, prisoners, including mothers. Mr Putin's critics see the amnesty as a bid to avoid controversy overshadowing Russia's hosting of the Winter Olympics in February. Maria Alyokhina - the first of the duo to be freed from jail - told a Russian TV channel that the amnesty was a PR stunt and she would rather have remained in prison.

Tolokonnikova, gesturing as she walked out of a prison hospital in Siberia, said that together with Alyokhina she would set up a human rights group to help prisoners. Russia frees jailed Pussy Riot pair.

Controversial performance. Cause celebre. Prison regime. More on this story. Published 23 December


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Freed Pussy Riot members say prison was time of 'endless humiliations'