Pussy Riot Members Walk Free from Russian Prison IBTimes UK

Pussy Riot member Maria Alyokhina has walked out of a Russian prison following an amnesty granted by the Kremlin, her lawyer has said.

"Maria Alyokhina walked out to freedom. All of the documents had been completed and signed," said her lawyer Pyotr Zaikin, according to reports in the Russian media.

Alyokhina and her fellow punk band member Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, who is also expected be freed shortly, had been serving a two-year sentence for hooliganism. They were convicted for a "punk prayer" in a Russian Orthodox Christian cathedral against President Vladimir Putin.

The two were due for release in March 2014 but the Russian parliament pardoned them recently, as part of sweeping amnesty measures.

According to the BBC, at least 20,000 prisoners who include minors and pregnant mothers are to be pardoned. Charges against some Greenpeace activists are also set to be dropped.

"At about 09:10 (local time) Maria left the penitentiary. With her lawyer Pyotr Zaikin she is now driving to the railway station from which she will travel to Moscow by train," said Tolokonnikova's husband Pyotr Verzilov.

Alyokhina is expected to meet other human rights activists in Moscow.

Her release follows a similar courtesy extended to the Kremlin critic and Russian oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky.

The amnesty signed by Putin is widely seen as a public relations stunt by critics as Russia is set to host the upcoming Winter Olympics in February 2014.