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Pussy Riot members detained in Sochi during Olympics

Law EnforcementCrime, Law and JusticeVladimir PutinWarpaint (music group)2014 Winter Olympics

Masha Alyokhina and Nadya Tolokonnikova of the Russian punk activist group Pussy Riot were briefly detained by Russian police in Sochi on Tuesday.

The group had arrived to protest Russian President Vladimir Putin during the 2014 Winter Olympics. The two were walking outside with several other Pussy Riot members, local activists and journalists when they were approached by Russian police, who accused them of involvement in a theft from their hotel. The group was taken for questioning and released later that day.

"A survey in connection with the theft at the Hotel Adler is completed; there is no claim against those questioned," Russian police said in a prepared statement sent to CNN

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Tolokonnikova's husband, Petr Verzilov, told Echo of Moscow radio news that the group was in Sochi to perform an anti-Putin song, "Putin Will Teach You to Love the Motherland," according to the Hollywood Reporter and Tolokonnikova's Twitter feed.

"They were put to the floor and beaten and physical force was used to them when they refused to be questioned without the presence of their lawyer, who was on his way to the police department,"  Verzilov said to Echo of Moscow.

"Unbelievable lawlessness, even we are amazed," tweeted Tolokonnikova about their arrest. "Beat on the floor of the department, in the Olympic capital!"

While they were released later in the day, their troubles stemming from the incident might not be over. Yuri Kupriyanov, an officer at the prison where they were detained, is suing the Pussy Riot members and a sympathetic website for libel, claiming that Tolokonnikova said he "basically rules the prison" and threatened to kill her. That hearing is scheduled for April 2. 

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Law EnforcementCrime, Law and JusticeVladimir PutinWarpaint (music group)2014 Winter Olympics
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