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Pussy Riot Members Look To Form Human Rights Group

Two members of the Russian punk protest band Pussy Riot are planning to start a human rights organization. They were recently granted amnesty.

Pussy Riot Members Look To Form Human Rights Group
Wikimedia Commons / Igor Mukhin
SMS

‚ÄčIt's been just four days since two members of Russian punk group Pussy Riot were granted amnesty. But being freed from prison hasn't stopped them from speaking out against the Russian government.

In the first press conference since their release from prison Monday, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina told reporters in Moscow they plan to start up a human rights organization. (Via The Telegraph)

The two say their organization will center around protecting prisoners' rights and will be named "Zona Prava," which translates to "Justice Zone."

The women plan to finance their human rights group through crowd funding. The musicians say they hope to establish art programs for inmates to help them through what the two women called terrible conditions. (Via CNN)

"If we want a decrease in the crime rate, if we want thousands of people to be released ... then we must work on it. This is our job; the authorities won't do it." (Via Euronews)

The band members were serving out two-year sentences for their "punk prayer" performance in Moscow's Cathedral of Christ the Saviour. The group says it was protesting close ties between the church and state. (Via ITN)

Three of the band members were found guilty of hooliganism. Of those three, one was released early on probation. The other two were put in separate prisons and spent nearly two years apart before their release. (Via New Tang Dynasty TV)

But neither wasted time before labeling their release a PR stunt ahead of the Sochi Winter Olympics. (Via The New York Times)

Thousands of the country's political prisoners have recently been released as part of a sweeping amnesty law backed by President Vladimir Putin. Tolokonnikova and Alyokhina had only two months left of each of their sentences. (Via Jewish News One)

The two say they have no plans to reunite Pussy Riot, and both expect they will be arrested again following the Sochi Olympics but have no intention of fleeing the country.