Madonna Renews Call To Free Remaining Pussy Riot Members
Madonna renewed her campaign to release the imprisoned members of Russian punk group Pussy Riot during her show in Los Angeles just hours after one of the women walked free from prison on Wednesday.
Three members of the band were handed two-year prison sentences for staging a protest in a church in Moscow in February, prompting an outcry from stars including Paul McCartney and Madonna, who called the jail terms "harsh" and "inhumane".
The women were back in court on Wednesday, and Yekaterina Samutsevich had sentence overturned after her lawyer argued the star had been restrained by police officers before the stunt and hadn't taken part. Samutsevich walked free from court, but her bandmates - Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alekhina - had their sentences upheld.
Lawyers representing Tolokonnikova and Alekhina have revealed they now hope to take the musicians' case to the European Court of Human Rights, and Madonna addressed the issue again during her gig at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Wednesday night.
She told the audience, "May I remind you that two members of Pussy Riot are still in jail."
Samutsevich has also given her first interviews since being freed, revealing the three women did not have access to any outside information during their time behind bars and she had no idea they had received such stellar support.
She tells Sky News, "We did not have access to any video or any audio, we did not even see Madonna's performances (when she danced with the band's name scrawled on her back)."
In another interview, Samutsevich reveals she feels bad for walking free after six months in custody while her friends remain behind bars.
She tells CNN, "(I have) mixed feelings... Of course I am very happy to be out and to be free, but I'm very upset that Nadezhda and Maria are still incarcerated... (They are) very, very upset (about being separated from their children)... but they are holding up very well."
Samutsevich also vowed the band will continue its political fight in the future, adding, "We are not finished, nor are we going to end our political protest... (But we will be) more cautious (in the future)."
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