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Freed Russian punk star: 'I am under surveillance'
Freed Pussy Riot star Yekaterina Samutsevich fears she has been put under surveillance by Russian spies since she was released from prison last year (12). The punk activist, who was freed from jail after her sentence for hooliganism was commuted, alleges her phone is tapped and insists she has been surreptitiously filmed while using Moscow's public transport network. She also claims other members of the protest band have been followed by shadowy Soviet agents. Samutsevich was jailed along with her Pussy Riot bandmates Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alekhina for performing a protest song about President Vladimir Putin at a Moscow church in February last year (12). Her two friends are serving out their two-year sentences at harsh labour camps in remote parts of the country, but Samutsevich is adamant her own freedom has come with a price. She tells Amnesty International's Livewire blog, "I notice that I'm sometimes under surveillance, quite explicitly. Several times on the subway I've seen someone clearly doing a video recording. Other Pussy Riot members are also followed. "Apparently the authorities fear that we're planning another protest, and that's why they're keeping an eye on us. But this isn't professional surveillance. They either lack experience or are simply sending us a message: 'You are being watched'. My phone is tapped, I'm sure of that. So of course I watch what I say." Samutsevich insists she is pleased with the outcome of the band's headline-grabbing stunt because of the global attention their case garnered, adding, "The support we received took this already ongoing discussion (about the president) in Russian society to a new level. We didn't expect it to become so widely discussed around the world - and so acutely in Russia... "It also influenced many people that international organisations, including Amnesty International, declared us prisoners of conscience, and that celebrities, including Madonna, Sting and others, showed their support."