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Members of Pussy Riot released in Sochi - 12 News KBMT and K-JAC. News, Weather and Sports for SE Texas

Members of Pussy Riot released in Sochi

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STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Police say there is "no claim" against detained band members
  • Maria Alyokhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova were meeting journalists
  • Police detained them, three other band members, activists and journalists
  • They were in Sochi to record an anti-Putin political protest song

By Nick Paton Walsh and Ben Brumfield

SOCHI, Russia (CNN) -- Two members of Russian punk band Pussy Riot were detained briefly Tuesday in central Sochi, after apparently being considered suspects in a theft at their hotel, and then released, police said.

"A survey in connection with the theft at the Hotel Adler is completed, there is no claim against those questioned," police said in a statement.

Earlier in the day, Maria Alyokhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova were meeting with journalists when police detained them, according to Tolokonnikova's husband, Petr Verzilov. Russian media corroborated the report.

The two women were walking down a street accompanied by the journalists, three other members of Pussy Riot who use pseudonyms, and two local activists, when a group of about 10 plainclothes police approached them and asked for their identification, said "Tank," one of the anonymous bandmates.

The police said they suspected Tolokonnikova may have had something to do with a theft in the hotel where the band members were staying, Tank said.

The officers then took away the band members, activists and journalists for questioning.

Tolokonnikova, Alyokhina and Tank tweeted the news about their detention from their cell phones, with Tolokonnikova posting photos of what she said was the vehicle that was taking her to a police station.

In a separate tweet, Alyokhina said they had been forced into a police van after being stopped near the Church of Mikhail the Archangel and accused of committing a crime.

Tank called CNN from the police station, complaining about having to wait there with no information from police.

They were not put in handcuffs, she said.

Recently free

The band members were in Sochi to protest what they said was the lack of freedom of speech and to record a song in English critical of Russian President Vladimir Putin and called "Putin will teach you to love the homeland."

Tolokonnikova and Alyokhina had been imprisoned for nearly two years after being convicted of "hooliganism" and inciting religious hatred for performing a punk song slamming Putin in a Moscow cathedral and then posting a video of it online.

Since their release, just before the Olympic Games began, they have spoken to journalists about their time behind bars, describing the conditions as squalid and their treatment by guards as demeaning and inhumane.

A third member of Pussy Riot, Yekaterina Samutsevich, was released in 2012.

This month, other band members said Tolokonnikova and Alyokhina were no longer part of the group, which Verzilov said Tuesday was false.

 

CNN's Nick Paton Walsh reported from Sochi, and Ben Brumfield wrote from Atlanta. CNN's Ivan Watson, Carol Jordan and Alla Eshchenko also contributed to this report.

 

The-CNN-Wire

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