- Associated Press - Wednesday, September 12, 2012

MOSCOW — Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has called for three members of the punk band Pussy Riot to be freed, saying further prison time would be “unproductive.”

Medvedev’s comments on Wednesday could signal the band members’ imminent release as their case comes up for appeal on Oct. 1.

The women had already spent more than five months in jail when they were convicted in August of “hooliganism driven by religious hatred” and sentenced to two years in prison.

They were arrested after performing a raucous prayer inside Moscow’s main cathedral asking Virgin Mary to save Russia from Vladimir Putin. The imprisonment of the women has drawn protests around the world as it highlighted Putin’s intensifying crackdown on dissent.

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