A member of the Russian punk band Pussy Riot who walked free from prison earlier today said she would rather have stayed behind bars, calling Putin’s amnesty law a “PR stunt.”

Maria Alyokhina, who was jailed last year alongside fellow band members Ekaterina Samutsevich and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova for staging an anti-Putin protest at a Moscow Cathedral, headed straight to the human rights group Committee Against Torture after being released from prison on Monday.

In a telephone interview, she reportedly slammed a wide-ranging amnesty law recently by the Russian Duma, saying: “I don’t think it’s an amnesty, it’s a profanation, I don’t think the amnesty is a humanitarian act, I think it’s a PR stunt.”

The band members were due to be released in March next year, although the new law – timed to coincide with the 20th anniversary of Russia’s constitution – has granted early pardons and releases for convicts who either have children or have committed nonviolent crimes.

Ms Alyokhin, commenting on her early release, said: “In this situation, I was just a body being moved in space, nothing depended on me.

“If I had a choice to refuse [the amnesty], I would have, without a doubt.”

In an interview with the BBC, Pyotr Verzilov, the husband of Ms Tolokonnikova, said: “The only thing [Pussy Riot] have acquired over their two years in prison is their confidence to continue fighting Putin’s regime even harder, because, well, this is the only thing that can change things in our country.”

In the wake of the scandal caused by the Pussy Riot last year, another law was passed by the State Duma to criminalise insulting people’s religious feelings.