Pussy Riot in Putin's gulag: daily forced gynecological exams


When Maria Alyokhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova walked out of the Siberian prison camp IK-50, they were defiant. The Pussy Riot members said they wanted acquittal, not amnesty, and an affirmation of the right to protest in Russia. Tolokonnikova gave the press a V-for-victory and shouted "Russia without Putin!"

But afterwards, in a phone interview with the Guardian, Alyokhina described the horrific conditions inside, where women were put to slave labor, and where Tolokonnikova faced daily, punitive forced gynecological exams for three weeks.

Pussy Riot has called on western countries to boycott eh Sochi Games in February.

Alyokhina told Russian television that had she been given the chance, she would have turned down the offer of amnesty, and served out the remainder of her sentence, which was due to finish in March.

"This is not an amnesty, this is a hoax and a PR move," she said. Tolokonnikova called on western countries to boycott the Sochi Olympics in February in protest at the Russian regime.

Samutsevich also rejected the women's amnesty. "We were innocent when the Kremlin locked us up: it was not amnesty that we expected from Putin; we demand acquittal," she told the Guardian.

The amnesty also provides a reprieve for 30 Greenpeace activists, including six Britons, arrested aboard the Arctic Sunrise in September. They had been bailed last month but were stuck in St Petersburg waiting for a trial for hooliganism that could have seen them jailed for up to seven years. They will now be allowed to leave Russia, though the paperwork looks like it will not be ready in time for them to spend Christmas at home.

Freed Pussy Riot members say prison was time of 'endless humiliations' [Anna Nemtsova and Shaun Walker/The Guardian]

(Image: Pussy Riot - Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin, painted portrait - IMG_2450, a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from home_of_chaos's photostream)

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