Via Associated Press:
Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev on Wednesday called for three members of the punk band Pussy Riot to be freed, a sign that the women’s release could be imminent as their case comes up for appeal on Oct. 1.
The women were arrested for performing a raucous prayer inside Moscow’s main cathedral asking Virgin Mary to save Russia from Vladimir Putin as he headed into the election that handed him a third term as president. They had already spent more than five months in jail when they were convicted in August of “hooliganism driven by religious hatred” and sentenced to two years in prison.
Medvedev remains subordinate to Putin. But by being the one to call for the women’s release, the prime minister, who has cultivated the image as a more liberal leader, could allow Putin to put the case behind him while not appearing weak.
Medvedev said the women’s appearance and the “hysteria” accompanying them made him sick, but keeping them in prison any longer would be unproductive.
“In my view, a suspended sentence would be sufficient, taking into account the time they have already spent in custody,” he said during a televised meeting with members of his United Russia party.