Pussy Riot back in Moscow ahead of first news conference

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Pussy Riot back in Moscow ahead of first news conference

Two members of anti-Kremlin punk band Pussy Riot, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova (L) and Maria Alyokhina smile as they meet in the airport of the Siberian city of Krasnoyarsk.

Moscow:  The two freed members of anti-Kremlin Russian punk group Pussy Riot arrived back in Moscow on Friday after reuniting in Siberia, ahead of holding their first news conference since their release earlier this week.

Maria Alyokhina, 25, had already passed through Moscow after being released from her prison colony on her way to meet Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, 24 just after her release from detention in Siberia.

The two landed in Moscow after their flight from Siberia, Tolokonnikova announced on Twitter. It was her first time back in Moscow since being sent to a prison camp in Mordovia and then Siberia.

Their release two months early from their two-year prison terms came after an amnesty backed by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

They are due to hold a news conference at 1000 GMT (15.30 IST) on the premises of opposition Dozhd television on the banks of the Moscow River.

The location of the news conference is symbolically barely a few minutes walk away from the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour where Pussy Riot staged their most notorious action which resulted in their jailing on hooliganism charges.

In February 2012, several members of Pussy Riot jumped around the altar of the church and attempted to sing what they called a "punk prayer" entitled "Virgin Mary, Redeem Us of Putin".

They said they were denouncing political ties between Putin and the Russian Orthodox Church and had not wanted to offend believers.

Alyokhina, 25, Tolokonnikova and Yekaterina Samutsevich, 31, were identified, later arrested and in August 2012 found guilty on charges of hooliganism motivated by religious hatred.

Samutsevich was released in October after being given a suspended sentence, but a Moscow city court upheld on appeal the two-year prison camp terms for Tolokonnikova and Alyokhina -- both mothers of young children.


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