RAPSI reports that the court that sentenced two Pussy Riot members to prison for committing hooliganism in Moscow’s Cathedral of Christ the Savior overlooked possible grounds for mitigating the verdict, the Supreme Court said in its decision to return the case for review to the Moscow City Court.
The lawyers of Maria Alyokhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova previously submitted complaints in this regard to the Supreme Court. Human Rights Ombudsman Vladimir Lukin supported Tolokonnikova’s complaint.
The Supreme Court writes that the verdict does not include proof that the girls planned their behavior to demonstrate hatred of a particular social group. Lukin wrote in his complaint that their actions were not criminal and that the girls should have received an administrative punishment.
The Supreme Court states that the presiding judge did not consider the deferral of punishment for defendants with young children.
“Furthermore, the court neglected to take into account several other considerations of significant importance for passing a fair verdict, namely, the defendants’ young age, the opinion of the injured parties who did not insist on a harsh punishment, the marital status of Tolokonnikova and Alyokhina, their living conditions, as well as the non-violent nature of their unlawful acts,” the Supreme Court writes in the document.
ALSO there will be a wide sweeping presidential pardon for non violent offenders imprisoned and serving suspended sentences for the 20th Anniversary of the Russian Constitution.
Innokenty Grekov formally of Human Rights First and commenting on with BuzzFedd Community wrote recently that Vladimir Putin submitted an amnesty bill to the Russian parliament. Though it doesn’t name names, the bill offers more hope to Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Mariya Alyokhina who could be freed because they committed no violent crimes and both have small children.
The bill is still a long shot, and lawyer Irina Khrunova is particularly cautious about its future, after all it must first be passed by the parliament. Khrunova told ITAR-Tass they could fall under amnesty but that it would only be clear after it is passed by parliament.
“I very much hope so,” said Irina Khrunova when asked whether she believed Nadezhda Tolokonnikova - due for release in March - would be free by January 1. “If the prison authorities drag this out, we will take measures.”