Yekaterina Samutsevich - Russian Punk Star Yekaterina Samutsevich Freed
PUSSY RIOT star Yekaterina Samutsevich has walked free from prison in Russia after her lawyer told a court the rocker did not take part in the band's protest against President Vladimir Putin.
Three members of the punk band - Samutsevich, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alekhina - were sentenced to two years in prison in August (12) for hooliganism motivated by religious hatred after performing a protest song at a Moscow church in February (12).
They appealed against the sentences and were brought before a court in the Russian capital for a hearing on Wednesday (10Oct12), during which Samutsevich's lawyer revealed his client had been restrained by cops before the incident and had not be able to take part in the stunt.
In a shock decision, a panel of judges quashed Samutsevich's conviction and ordered her immediate release, before upholding the sentences of her bandmates Tolokonnikova and Alekhina, who had unsuccessfully argued the protest was politically motivated and was not intended to offend churchgoers.
In a statement, Tolokonnikova said, "It is clear as day that our performance in Christ the Saviour Cathedral was political and not anti-religious", and Alekhina vowed to continue to seek justice, adding, "Even if we are in Mordovia or Siberia we will not be quiet."
The two women were due to be moved to "separate penal colonies" in Russia to complete their jail terms following the hearing.