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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Pussy Riot Rocker 'Pleased' That Iranian Won Sakharov Prize

MTFrom left, Alyokhina, Samutsevich and Tolokonnikova in court in August.

Pussy Riot rocker Yekaterina Samutsevich, whose conviction was recently overturned, expressed approval that the2012 Sakharov Prize forFreedom ofThought would go totwo jailed Iranians: human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh and filmmaker Jafar Panahi.

Among thenominees forthe award, named after Soviet dissident Andrei Sakharov, was punk band Pussy Riot andmembers Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Maria Alyokhina and Samutsevich.

Thetrio was nominated fortheir unsanctioned protest ina Moscow cathedral inwhich they denounced President Vladimir Putin, aperformance forwhich they were jailed andconvicted ofhooliganism inspired byreligious hatred. InAugust, aMoscow court sentenced them totwo years inprison, but Samutsevich was later released onappeal.

Samutsevich told The Associated Press that she was pleased that Panahi won the prize.

"It's very important for us that it went to someone who is in jail for their feminist views," she said. "That's essentially the same as what happened to us."

European Parliament members nominated thePussy Riot women fordrawing unprecedented attention towhat they called the"absence ofrule oflaw inRussia."

"The acts ofprotest andarrest ofthese three young women … andtheir sentencing totwo years ina labor camp, have done far more tofocus theworld's attention onthe unscrupulous restriction ofcivil rights andthe absence ofthe rule oflaw inRussia than did theearlier murders ofjournalists or thenew repressive laws," their nomination said.

Theprize winners, Sotoudeh andPanahi, have both been imprisoned byIranian authorities inconnection with their support ofanti-government protests inIran in2009.

Other nominees forthis year's award included jailed Belarussian civil activist Ales Belyatsky andthree Rwandan activists.

TheSakharov prize was founded in1988 andis given annually toone or more human rights campaigners around theworld. It includes anaward of50,000 euros, according toits website.

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