MOSCOW - According to the Amnesty, charges against the released prisoners will remain and the amnesty "is no substitute for an effective justice system.”
MOSCOW – According to the Amnesty, charges against the released prisoners will remain and the amnesty “is no substitute for an effective justice system.”
The release of political prisoners will not stop harassment of civil society in Russia, according to a report published on Monday by human rights watchdog Amnesty International.
Russian punk band Pussy Riot’s two members, Maria Alyokhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, were released from jail on Monday under an amnesty allowing their early release from two-year sentence.Their release comes days after Putin pardoned Mikhail Khodorkovsky, a former oil tycoon and once Russia’s richest man, who spent a decade in prison after challenging Putin’s power.
The Amnesty said that the charges against the released prisoners will remain and the amnesty “is no substitute for an effective justice system.” It is “a politically expedient move in the run up to the Sochi Olympics”, said the Amnesty.
Jailed for two years for hooliganism in 2012 after a protest against President Vladimir Putin in Moscow’s main cathedral, the Pussy Riot members have denounced their early release under an amnesty as “a propaganda stunt by the Kremlin”.
John Dalhuisen, Europe and Central Asia Programme Director at Amnesty International, said, “The release of businessman Mikhail Khodorkovski, the Pussy riot singers Maria Alekhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, and a handful of Bolotnaya case detainees should not been seen as a benign act of clemency, but a politically expedient move in the run up to the Sochi Olympics.”
Khodorkovsky said at a news conference on Sunday, after spending more than 10 years in prison on charges of embezzlement and tax fraud, that he hopes his pardon on Friday by Putin would not lead people to think that there are no political prisoners left in Russia, because there are and he said they need to be helped.