Russia passes amnesty bill

Associated Press

MOSCOW (AP) — Russia's parliament has voted for an amnesty bill that includes crew members of a Greenpeace ship and jailed members of the Pussy Riot punk band.

The State Duma on Wednesday voted 446-0 in favor of the bill, which mainly concern first-time offenders, minors and women with small children. The move has been largely viewed as the Kremlin's attempt to soothe criticism of Russia's human rights records ahead of the Winter Olympics in Sochi next year.

The amnesty makes two members of the Pussy Riot band eligible for release and will allow investigators to drop charges against the 30 members of Greenpeace's ship detained in Russia's Arctic in September.