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Myanmar's Aung San Suu Kyi calls for release of Russian punk band Pussy Riot

MSNBC host Alex Wagner moderates a town hall with Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi and Amnesty International live from the Newseum in Washington, D.C.

Myanmar's pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi has called for the release of the members of the Russian punk rock band Pussy Riot.

At an event organized by Amnesty International on Thursday, Suu Kyi accepted a bouquet from family members of one of the group's three members, Nadia Tolokonnikova.

The punk band members were sentenced in August to two years in prison for performing an irreverent song mocking Russian President Vladimir Putin inside Moscow's main cathedral.

 


 

Suu Kyi's journey to global icon: a heart-breaking tale of personal sacrifice

Responding to a question, Suu Kyi said: "I don't see why people should not sing whatever they want to sing."

She added jokingly that was unless they sing terribly. 

Her comments came during a town hall moderated by MSNBC's Alex Wagner.

Suu Kyi was one of the world's most famous political prisoners until her release two years ago. 

She is now on a coast-to-coast tour of the United States. On Wednesday, she met President Barack Obama at the White House and received the Congressional Gold Medal for her long fight for democracy in a country ruled by army generals since 1962.

Suu Kyi honored with Congress' highest award 

U.S. lawmakers and officials who turned out to honor Suu Kyi expressed amazement — some tearing up — that she had made the journey from house arrest to Washington.

Suu Kyi won the 1991 Nobel Peace Prize for championing democracy in opposition to the military junta that held her under house arrest for years. Her last stay in the United States was in the 1970s as a United Nations employee.

Russia PM Medvedev: Pussy Riot members should be freed

Suu Kyi's election to parliament in April helped to transform the pariah image of Myanmar and persuade the West to begin rolling back sanctions after a year of dramatic reforms, including the release of about 700 political prisoners.

The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi received the highest honor bestowed by Congress, the Congressional Gold Medal, and thanked the U.S. for its support of her struggle for democracy. NBC's Kelly O'Donnell reports.

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