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Pussy Riot members released after being detained by police in Sochi

Tuesday, February 18, 2014 - 00:54

Feb. 18 - Members of the Russian punk rock band Pussy Riot are released from police custody in the Winter Olympic host city Sochi after being detained at a hotel. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).

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ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) Pussy Riot protest band members, including Maria Alyokhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, were released from a police station on Tuesday, after being held in connection with a theft in the Winter Olympics host city of Sochi. The pair were held for around three hours at a police station in the Adler district of Sochi, before appearing with other women on the steps outside wearing summer dresses, coloured leggings and their trademark balaclava masks. Some punched the air in triumph and sang songs as they left the building, where they were greeted by dozens of reporters. One unidentified member told reporters she believed they were detained for political reasons related to the Olympic Games and criticized the International Olympic Committee (IOC) for their stance on Russian President Vladimir Putin. "There are so many violations of human rights, you know, probably it's a sporting event but why are members of the IOC saying that Putin is a democrat and... so it's clear it's not a sporting event, it's a political event," she said. Putin has staked his reputation on the Sochi Games, hoping they would show the world Russia's modern face more than two decades after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Alyokhina, age 25, said they and others detained with them were questioned without lawyers present, and Tolokonnikova said that police had used violence during questioning inside the police station. Sochi police, who had told Russian agency Interfax that the women were being questioned in relation to a theft in the hotel where they were staying, said they had no further claims against them. Alyokhina and Tolokonnikova were released from prison on December 23 under an amnesty that Tolokonnikova said was a stunt by Putin to improve Russia's image before the Olympics. They recently returned to Russia after a tour through Europe and the United States. The pair had been serving two-year jail terms for hooliganism motivated by religious hatred after performing a profanity-laced protest song against Putin in Moscow's main cathedral in February 2012. Western governments said the sentences were disproportionate, and Kremlin critics called the trial part of a clampdown on dissent during Putin's third presidential term.

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Pussy Riot members released after being detained by police in Sochi

Tuesday, February 18, 2014 - 00:54