In Russia, on Wednesday a member of the punk rock group that was convicted of hooliganism was unexpectedly freed on appeal. The feminist punkers were convicted after storming into a local cathedral and singing in protest.
The other two members who were convicted from the band Pussy Riot were told their sentences had been upheld and will be in a prison camp for two years. The case of the music group won notoriety across the globe with political figures to rocks start calling for their release. Last week Vladimir Putin, the President of Russia said he thought the sentences given the group were fair.
The group entered a church last February wearing ski masks singing a song that was against Putin. At their court trial this past summer, the group were accused of religious hatred.
The case has been used as evidence by some of the crackdown Putin has instituted on his opposition. Other activists are also facing a number of different criminal charges that could result in very severe prison sentences.
Parliament has also passed new legislation that has substantially increased prison terms for organizing protests that are illegal. In addition, new bills are being introduced in the parliament that would broaden the definition of treason and make it much easier for authorities to imprison people.
The band member released was Yekaterina Samutsevich. She changed her attorneys prior to the hearing. Her previous attorneys are three that are disliked by President Putin. The freed band member’s father said that she had been rewarded for changing attorneys. Other said her release is a way to drive a wedge between members of the band and amongst other political activists.