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Pussy Riot among human rights nominees

Sept. 14, 2012 at 8:49 AM

MOSCOW, Sept. 14 (UPI) -- A German member of Europe's Parliament nominated three jailed members of Russian punk group Pussy Riot for a human rights activist prize, RIA Novosti reported.

Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Maria Alyokhina and Ekaterina Samutsevich were sentenced to two years in prison Aug. 17 after being convicted of hooliganism motivated by religious hatred. Their "punk prayer" at a Moscow cathedral in February was part of a large protest movement existing at the time against Russian President Vladimir Putin's re-election.

A German parliament member nominated the three Pussy Riot members for the Sakharov Prize for the incident.

The prize is a $65,000 award given to groups or individuals who have made contributions to human rights, RIA Novosti reported.

Other nominees include members of the Rwandan and Iranian opposition and Belarusian human rights activist Ales Bialiatski. The award is named after Soviet human rights activist Andrei Sakharov, and was first awarded in 1988 to Nelson Mandela and Soviet dissident Anatoly Marchenko.

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