Russian PM argues for Pussy Riot members release

MOSCOW (AP) — Russia's prime minister says the women in the Pussy Riot punk band serving two-year prison sentences should be set free.

Three members of the band were convicted on hooliganism charges in August for performing a "punk prayer" at Moscow's main cathedral, in which they pleaded with the Virgin Mary for deliverance from President Vladimir Putin.

One of them, Yekaterina Samutsevich, was released on appeal last month, but the other two, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alekhina, were sent to prison camps to serve their sentences.

Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said Friday that he detested the Pussy Riot act, but added the women have been in prison long enough and should be released. He made a similar statement before October's appeals hearings, fueling speculation about their possible release.

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