Pussy Riot members released by police in Olympic city of Sochi

Russian punk band Pussy Riot members Maria Alyokhina, left, and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova address a...

Russian punk band Pussy Riot members Maria Alyokhina, left, and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova address a news conference for the "Cinema for Peace" charity gala in Berlin, February 10, 2014. (REUTERS/Tobias Schwarz)

REUTERS

, Last Updated: 9:25 AM ET

Pussy Riot protest band members Maria Alyokhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova were released from police custody on Tuesday, Tolokonnikova's husband said hours after they were detained in Sochi, where Russia is holding the 2014 Winter Olympics.

Pussy Riot protest band members Maria Alyokhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova said they were detained on suspicion of theft in the Winter Olympics host city of Sochi on Tuesday, less than two months after their release from prison under an amnesty.

President Vladimir Putin has staked his reputation on the Sochi Games, hoping they would show the world Russia’s modern face more than two decades after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

The women were in Sochi with other members of Pussy Riot to record a musical film called “Putin will teach you to love the motherland”.

Alyokhina, 25, said they and others detained with them were being questioned without lawyers present, and Tolokonnikova said that police had used violence during questioning inside the police station.

“They dragged me across the floor of the police station assembly hall office by my face, they twisted my arms and threw me to the floor. Putin will teach you to love the motherland!” the 24-year-old said on her Twitter microblog.

Lawyer Alexander Popkov told reporters gathered outside the police station in the Adler district of Sochi, that some 30 to 40 officers had arrested 12-15 people.

He named Alyokhina and Tolokonnikova as among the detainees.

“They have been held over an alleged theft at a hotel,” Popkov said. “They (the authorities) have refused to fully explain the reason for the detention.”

Yevgeny Feldman, photographer for Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta, was in Sochi to photograph a demonstration and was detained along with the Pussy Riot members.

Feldman said the group had been walking down a street near the sea shore and were a long way from the Olympic Park when they were detained.


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