Tags: Russia | band | pussy | riot | putin | hunger | strike

Russian Punk Band Member Hospitalized in Hunger Strike

Monday, 30 Sep 2013 11:34 AM

 

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MOSCOW — A jailed member of the female Russian punk group Pussy Riot was transferred to a hospital after going on hunger strike to protest what her lawyers said were death threats from a prison official.

Nadezhda Tolokonnikova was moved yesterday from a labor camp in the Mordovia region about 280 miles southeast of Moscow to a prison medical facility, according to a website statement by the Federal Prison Service.

Tolokonnikova, 23, was convicted of hooliganism and inciting religious hatred last August for performing a song critical of Vladimir Putin before last year’s presidential election inside Moscow’s Christ the Savior cathedral. The case spurred protests by freedom-of-speech advocates across Russia and abroad. Tolokonnikova is serving a two-year sentence. One member of the group was freed last October.

The Pussy Riot member should be taken to another penitentiary, because if something happens to her, “it will be very unpleasant for the prison administration,” Russia’s human rights ombudsman, Vladimir Lukin, said in comments published on the website of the presidential human rights commission.

Tolokonnikova’s defense team has filed a formal complaint with the regional head of the Investigative Committee, it said today on its Facebook page.

In an open letter, Tolokonnikova said that she was threatened by the deputy head of Penal Colony No. 14 after she complained that inmates are forced to work 17-hour days. The Federal Prison Service declined to comment.

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