Putin's prison amnesty plan set for approval in Russian Duma

December 17, 2013 1:23 PM

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Putin's prison amnesty plan set for approval in Russian Duma

MOSCOW (Reuters) - A prison amnesty that President Vladimir Putin has portrayed as an act of mercy and could free members of punk band Pussy riot came a step closer on Tuesday when Russian lawmakers gave it preliminary approval.

Putin submitted his proposal last week for the amnesty to mark the 20th anniversary of Russia's post-Soviet constitution, after long debate about how many it would free and whether it would apply to inmates his critics call political prisoners.

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