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Madonna to introduce Russian punks at Amnesty gig

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Jan 29, 2014 | 12:55pm EST

Madonna is set to celebrate the recent release of Russian punk rockers Maria Alyokhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova by introducing the pair onstage at the upcoming Amnesty International concert in New York. The pop superstar was among the famous faces who joined human rights activists in calling for Russian authorities to free the Pussy Riot members after they were jailed on hooliganism charges in 2012, and now Madonna will get to meet the young women in person after signing on as a presenter for the 5 February (14) show. A statement released by the Material Girl reads: "I am honoured to introduce my fellow freedom fighters Masha and Nadya (sic) from Pussy Riot. "I have admired their courage and have long supported their commitment and the sacrifices they have made in the name of freedom of expression and human rights." The Bringing Human Rights Home Amnesty International event will also feature performances from the Flaming Lips, Lauryn Hill, Imagine Dragons, Yoko Ono and Bob Geldof. Alyokhina and Tolokonnikova were granted amnesty in December (13) by Russian President Vladimir Putin. They had been thrown behind bars alongside a third bandmember, Yekaterina Samutsevich, after singing a controversial protest song against the nation's leader at a church in Moscow. Samutsevich's two-year prison sentence was commuted in October, 2012.

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