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Two Pussy Riot Members Given Political Asylum By Sweden


Russian artists Lusine Djanyan and Aleksei Knedlyakovsky in Sweden

Sweden has granted political asylum to members of the Russian protest group Pussy Riot.

Lusine Djanyan and Aleksei Knedlyakovsky and their two children were granted asylum on April 30 after appealing an initial decision by Sweden's Immigration Office that rejected their 2017 asylum request.

The couple cited harassment and death threats in Russia based on their protest actions and antigovernment songs at concerts.

"I am very happy that my children will be able to grow up in security, in particular in view of what has been going on [in Russia]," Djanyan told the SVT television station after the decision to give them asylum.

Knedlyakovsky was jailed in Russia for 15 days in 2016 after hanging a cross on a statue depicting the chief of the Russian FSB security service.

Pussy Riot rose to fame in August 2012 when three of its members were sentenced to two years in prison for "hooliganism and religious hatred" after performing a song critical of Russian President Vladimir Putin in a central Moscow church.

The group has had numerous members take part in its protests over the years, many of them anonymously.

Based on reporting by AFP and Aftenposten
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