Voices from Russia

Monday, 9 December 2013

BREAKING NEWS… Leaked: Amnesty to Free Pussy Riot and Greenpeace Activists

get out of jail free community chest

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Editor’s Note:

Many thanks to the Cabineteer (you know who you are) who got to this to me tout suite. I can’t find everything on my own… I don’t deserve such good friends…

BMD

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Media sources say that an amnesty dedicated to the 20th anniversary of the Russian Constitution would free members of the Pussy Riot punk band, Greenpeace activists, and Bolotnaya Square demonstration protesters. The amnesty initialled by President Putin would free some 25,000 people. Interfax quoted Vladimir Vasilyev, deputy speaker of the RF Gosduma, “We’ll release around 1,300 people from prison, and relieve 17,500 people of non-custodial sentences. In addition, we’re terminating criminal proceedings against nearly 6,000 people”.

Several Russian media outlets, including Izvestiya and Vedomosti, obtained a copy of the draft amnesty, submitted to the Federal Assembly by President Vladimir Putin on Monday. They said that the participants in such high-profile cases as the Pussy Riot Cathedral protest, Greenpeace’s Arctic Sunrise boarding of an oil rig, and the Bolotnaya Square riots would all get amnesty. Vasilyev pointed up that the upcoming amnesty wouldn’t apply to those who committed crimes that posed a serious danger to society, adding that the amnesty would give preference to convicts in vulnerable social categories and people who’d served the country. Preference would go to all minors, mothers with small children, pregnant women, women over 55, men over 60, the disabled, Chernobyl cleanup workers, and military veterans.

According to Vedomosti, the draft amnesty covers three articles of the criminal code “as an exception”, which means that those convicted under them would be freed or relived from punishment regardless of age, sex, or social status. The first such is Article 213 “Hooliganism”, which means that two Pussy Riot members… Mariya Alekhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova… as well as the Greenpeace activists awaiting trial in Russia, would walk free. Three members of the Pussy Riot punk band each received a sentenced of two years in prison after staging a protest in Moscow‘s Cathedral of Christ the Saviour in February 2012, although one member of the band later gained release on appeal. Currently, the 30 Greenpeace activists are on bail and awaiting trial after trying to board a Russian oil platform in the Prirazlomnaya oil field in the Barents Sea this September.

The second exception was for Article 2012 Part 2 and 3, “Participation in Riots and Incitement of Same”. This would allow nine participants of the Bolotnaya trial not accused of using force against police officers to avoid prosecution. The authorities detained the so-called Bolotnaya prisoners following riots on Bolotnaya Square in central Moscow in May 2012. The third exception deals with those convicted of violating traffic regulations with severe consequences to people’s health. Meanwhile, Izvestiya said that those who committed economic crimes wouldn’t receive pardons, as there’s already been an amnesty for this category of prisoners earlier this year, with 1,431 people released. This means that former oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky and his business partner, Platon Lebedev, would stay behind bars.

A high-ranking source in the Gosduma told Izvestiya that the government would adopt the amnesty before the end of the year and carry it out within the next six months. Russia celebrates the 20th anniversary of its Constitution on 12 December. Mikhail Fedotov, the head of the RF Presidential Council on Civil Society and Human Rights, expressed his satisfaction with the draft amnesty bill, expressing hope that it wouldn’t suffer excessive revision by the Gosduma. He told RIA-Novosti, “I’m sure that there’ll be some Deputies who’d try to widen the amnesty bill and those who’d push to narrow it. In the end, I hope that it’d remain as it was when the President submitted it”.

However, Oleg Orlov, one of the heads of Memorial human rights centre, called the draft amnesty bill a disappointment. He told Interfax, “Even in its current form, I welcome the document. At least, it’d release some people. However, the part of Russian society that advocated an amnesty understood it in a broader sense, so, of course, we’re disappointed”. President Putin tasked human rights activists with putting together a draft bill for an amnesty dedicated to the 20th anniversary of Russia’s current Constitution in late September. In mid-October, the Presidential Council for Human Rights approved a draft bill proposing to pardon around 100,000 prisoners.

 9 December 2013

RT

http://rt.com/news/amnesty-bill-putin-parliament-951/

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