What Pussy Riot's New Path to Freedom Looks Like

The Atlantic
What Pussy Riot's New Path to Freedom Looks Like
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What Pussy Riot's New Path to Freedom Looks Like

Freed Pussy Riot member Yekaterina Samutsevich has accused the band's former legal team of theft and deception, blaming them for the continued imprisonment of other band members. With a new lawyer at the helm, will the other two Pussy Riot prisoners see freedom anytime soon?

RELATED: Russian Punk Band Pussy Riot Found Guilty, Given 2-Year Jail Terms

Pussy Riot's defenders have been criticizing their lawyers since the end of their trial back in mid-August. Samutsevich was able to get out of jail after firing her representatives and getting a new team. Earlier this week, Samutsevich told Russian journalists that Mark Feygin, Nikolai Polozov, and Violetta Volkova failed to fulfill their lawyerly duties, using the high-profile case for personal career development rather than adequately defending their clients. "It turned out we were like lawyers, and they were like artists, like co-authors of the trial. They were not lawyers," she said, alleging that they even failed to return her passport and apartment keys upon her release. Sumutsevich is calling for them to be stripped of their licenses to practice.

RELATED: White House, State Department Back Pussy Riot

The accused lawyers fired back, bizarrely claiming that Samutsevich and the Kremlin are conspiring against them. "Back in summer I said that the authorities would carry out a campaign of discreditation against the Pussy Riot lawyers and here you go," Polozov wrote on Twitter. "Samutsevich's lies, reproduced in the media, are one element of the deal that allowed her to get out of the case."

RELATED: Russian Prime Minister Calls for the Release of Pussy Riot

Maria Alyokhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova are still being held in harsh, remote prison camps, according to the most recent reports. With the accused lawyers' contracts with the remaining Pussy Riot prisoners now severed, Samutsevich's new lawyer Irina Khrunova will try to bargain for an early end to their two-year prison sentence. But even with Angela Merkel and his own right hand man Dmitry Medvedev calling for their release, Vladimir Putin seems unwilling to budge. Still, if anyone can do it, it's Khurnova, a famous lawyer associated with the human-rights group Agora who's no stranger to media-circus trials. In 2005 and 2008, he represented Mikhail Khodorkovsky, the imprisoned former oligarch Amnesty International considers a prisoner of conscience. 

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