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Pussy Riot's Maria Alyokhina speaks out after her release from prison 'I was always free, because I felt free'

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Dec 25, 2013 12:37 PM EST

Pussy Riot member Maria Alyokhina (Photo : Reuters)

Pussy Riot's Maria Alyokhina was freed from jail on Monday after being imprisoned for nearly two years for a "hooliganism" conviction and right away when she got out, she went to work toward making changes that could help others in the future.

Just the day after her release, she met with the human rights defenders from the Committee Against Torture to discuss reforming Russia's prisons. She also took some time to speak with Rolling Stone about her experience and what comes next.

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RS asked her what it is like now to be free. "You know, I was always free, because I felt free," she said. "It's very important to be free inside. The most important thing is to feel free. You have the right to choose. Becoming conscious of that fact delivers a person."

Many people, including Alyokhina consider the amnesty that allowed her release to be a PR stunt preceding the Olympics in Sochi to create a better image for the country. Because of this, Alyokhina says that she wanted to turn down the amnesty.

"I wanted to," she said. "I wanted to, but unfortunately it wasn't in my power. If I had had any possibility of doing so, I definitely would have refused this amnesty. I don't need it. I'm not guilty, I'm not a criminal, I don't consider it mercy."

Alyokhina is certainly not done with standing up for what she believes and focusing on changes in Russia and human rights at the camps and in general. RS asked her if she thought Pussy Riot would continue to exist. She responded:

"I think it's best if we give more details when we appear together so there is no dissonance. We need to meet first. Everything needs to be talked about with Nadya. Whatever we do, will definitely be connected with that sort of action that we found effective. And on top of that, I would say that if a person is connected with art, it's forever. It's impossible to stop. It's something inside."

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