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Pussy Riot member freed in Russia

Russian parliament member hopes amnesty of Pussy Riot members will shrink political grievances against Russia.

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Pussy Riot bandmember Maria Alyokhina, who has been freed from prison under a Kremlin-backed amnesty, has slammed the measure as a mere publicity stunt and says she would have preferred to remain in prison.

"I don't think it's an amnesty, it's a profanation," she told the Dozhd television channel after her release on Monday, saying it only applied to a tiny minority of convicts.

"I don't think the amnesty is a humanitarian act, I think it's a PR stunt."

Maria Alyokhina.

Maria Alyokhina. Photo: Reuters

"If I had a choice to refuse (the amnesty), I would" have done so, she said.

Her bandmate Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, who was also released, told reporters her release was a "cosmetic measure". She immediately called for a boycott of the Sochi winter Olympics, the BBC reported.

Alyokhina's lawyer Pyotr Zaikin told RIA Novosti that the 25-year-old was apparently headed to the train station in the city in a prison convoy.

Reporters waiting for Alyokhina in colony number 2 in Nizhny Novgorod did not get a chance to speak with her after she was whisked away, her other lawyer said.

"She is being driven away in a black car, which probably belongs to the head of the colony," said Irina Khrunova.

"They didn't hand her over to her lawyer, probably to avoid a media frenzy," she said.

Alyokhina and bandmate Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, 24, whose two-year sentences for hooliganism in a Moscow church would have run out in early March, were granted amnesty last week after parliament approved a Kremlin-backed bill.

The two women were convicted and jailed on charges of hooliganism motivated by religious hatred after staging a "punk prayer" in Moscow's largest cathedral in Februrary 2012, ahead of Vladimir Putin's reelection, to protest the Orthodox Church's support of the strongman during the campaign.

Their jailing turned them from almost unknown rebel punks on the fringes of Russian society to the stars of a global cause celebre symbolising the repression of civil dissent under Putin.

AFP