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Pussy Riot to address NY concert on Feb. 5

NEW YORK -- Members of Russian punk band Pussy Riot are to visit New York next month and address a Feb. 5 human rights concert organized by Amnesty International, the campaign group announced Tuesday.

Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina, who were freed last month from a Russian prison, will be in the Big Apple as part of their campaign against abuses inside President Vladimir Putin's Russia.

Three members of the band were jailed for 21 months for hooliganism after performing a controversial protest stunt inside Moscow's top church, the Christ the Savior Cathedral, in February 2012.

The stunt was described by Pussy Riot as a denunciation of political ties between Putin and the Russian Orthodox Church.

“We, more than anyone, understand how important Amnesty's work is in connecting activists to prisoners,” Tolokonnikova and Alekhina said in a statement released by Amnesty.

“We will never forget what it's like to be in prison after a political conviction. We have vowed to continue helping those who remain behind bars and we hope to see you all at the Amnesty International concert on February 5 in Brooklyn!”

The Russians will address the audience at the concert to raise awareness about prisoners of conscience.

“Pussy Riot will take to the stage to share their vision of how Amnesty International's movement and the power of music can help free prisoners of conscience around the world,” said Shahram Hashemi, the chair of Amnesty USA's national advisory council.

The star-studded Feb. 5 line-up at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn includes The Flaming Lips, Imagine Dragons, Lauryn Hill, Tegan and Sara, The Fray, Cold War Kids and Cake.

Amnesty said 25 years after its first concert series, which featured U2, Sting, Lou Reed and others, the event aims to raise awareness about human rights to a new generation.

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Russian punk band Pussy Riot members Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, left, and Maria Alekhina at the Prudential Eye Awards in Singapore on Saturday, Jan. 18. (AP)

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