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Pussy Riot Activists Freed After Rearrest, Still Face Prosecution


Russian Authorities Acquit, Rearrest Pussy Riot Members
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WATCH: Members of the Russian punk protest group Pussy Riot were arrested immediately after they walked out of a Moscow pretrial detention center on July 30.

Russian authorities have released four members of the Pussy Riot protest group, but they still face charges for a stunt they performed at the World Cup final in Moscow.

Police on July 30 detained activists Veronika Nikulshina, Olga Kuracheva, and Olga Pakhtusova immediately after the trio served 15 days in jail for running onto the field at Moscow's Luzhniki Stadium during the soccer match on July 15.

The four activists spent a night in custody and a day awaiting a hearing in Moscow's Khamovniki district court, before the judge refused to hear the case and sent it back to police, a court official told state-run TASS news agency.

Police released Nikulshina, Kuracheva, and Pakhtusova shortly after midnight on August 1, one of the members, Pyotr Verzilov, tweeted.

"Free after 16 days of arrest!" Verzilov wrote on Twitter, posting a picture of the four dancing in a parking lot.

The activists must now return to a police station on August 3, and they again face possible rulings carrying a potential punishment of several days in jail.

The four activists performed their stunt in the second half of the match between France and Croatia, which was being watched by Russian President Vladimir Putin and his French and Croatian counterparts.

Pussy Riot member Veronika Nikulshina arrives for a court hearing in Moscow on July 31 after being detained along with three others the day before.
Pussy Riot member Veronika Nikulshina arrives for a court hearing in Moscow on July 31 after being detained along with three others the day before.

They said it was a protest against Putin and issued a list of political demands, including freeing political prisoners and ending arrests at peaceful rallies.

Pussy Riot is best known for performing an anti-Putin protest song in a central Moscow church in February 2012.

Three of the group's members were convicted of "hooliganism motivated by religious hatred" at a trial that attracted global media attention and drew protests from rights groups.

With reporting by AFP and Reuters
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