Pussy Riot member Maria Alekhina released

posted 24 Dec 2013, 13:26 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 24 Dec 2013, 13:33 ]
23 December 2013

Source: HRO.org (info)
Maria Alekhina, a member of Pussy Riot who has served a term of imprisonment in a penal colony in Nizhny Novgorod region, was released early under an amnesty on Monday, 23 December. She has spoken about how she was secretly taken out of the colony and about her plans for the future.

After leaving the colony she met with human rights defenders from the Committee Against Torture in Nizhny Novgorod, Dozhd TV channel reports.

Maria Alekhina was in detention from the end of February 2012 when she was detained together with two other members of Pussy Riot who took part in the ‘punk prayer’ at the Church of Christ the Saviour, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Ekaterina Samutsevich, and subsequently charged with ‘hooliganism’. The prison term to which Ekaterina Samutsevich was sentenced was later commuted to a suspended sentence. Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, it is expected, will also be released under the amnesty.

Maria Alekhina: I intend to take up human rights activity. I am very concerned about the fate of women prisoners. The year and a half I spent in the penal colony made a huge impression on me.

The hardships that people experience and the groundless actions of the prison officers are often far from what the law lays down.

What is hardest is probably to see how people give in, how they feel there is nothing they can do, how they lose their individuality. This is very hard to watch.

The fact is that my attitude to the president has not changed at all. If there was any opportunity at all for me to avoid benefiting from this amnesty, I would certainly take it.

But the penal colony authorities received the decree, and they carried it out.

In this case I was no more than an object moved from one place to another. Nothing depended on me.

If I had a chance to refuse the amnesty, I would have done so, without any doubt.

First of all, I don’t think that this is an amnesty. It is a profanation, because under this amnesty not even 10 percent of the prisoners are being released.

Nor does this amnesty apply to most mothers and pregnant women, because these women have been convicted of serious and very serious crimes. The amnesty will not apply to them. And the conditions in which mothers are kept do not help rehabilitate them at all, and have very little to do with anything constructive.

That’s why I do not this amnesty is a humane act. I think it is purely public relations.

Source: Dozhd TV