Russias Prime Minister said Friday the women in the Pussy Riot punk band serving two-year prison sentences should be set free,while a band members husband tried to visit his wife in jail in a central Russian region known for its gloomy Stalinist-era gulags.
Three members of the band were convicted on hooliganism charges in August for performing a punk prayer at Moscows main cathedral during 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 Octobers appeal hearings,fueling speculation about their possible release. Medvedevs latest comment is unlikely to take effect,since he is widely seen as a liberal yet nominal government figure whose pledges and orders are seldom followed through on.