Pussy Riot members officially launch their prisoner's rights group
Zona Prava is a non governmental organisation founded by the formerly imprisoned activists Maria Alyokhina and Nadia Tolokonnikova
The duo launched the NGO yesterday (March 13) in Saransk, the capital of Mordovia, writes the Hollywood Reporter. "In our country, as long as cases of prisoners' rights' violation take place, we are sure that there will be a need for our organisation," said Tolokonnikova, who has been vocal about the way she and fellow prisoners were treated after she was imprisoned following 2012's 'punk prayer' protest at Moscow's Christ the Savior cathedral. Both Tolokonnikova and Alyokhina went on hunger strike whilst in prison.
The head of the group is Vladimir Rubashny, who was introduced yesterday. Rubashny was formerly a prison psychologist. The Cinema for Peace Initiative and Foundation have stated that they will support Zona Prava, and will bring Alyokhina and Tolokonnikova to New York and Los Angeles next month.
Last month Alyokhina and Tolokonnikova were attacked by a group of men in the city of Nizhny Novgorod, Russia. The two women had rubbish and paint poured over them at a branch of McDonalds by the men. Alyokhina stated that she suffered head injuries because of the attack and Tolokonnikova chemical burns.
The two women were released from prison in December 2013. Earlier this year they were arrested again as part of a group of over 100 people accused with "disturbing the peace" outside of a Moscow court. They were reportedly voicing their support for the May 6 Prisoners, who are activists imprisoned for a protest against Vladmir Putin in 2012.
The punk activists have been involved in a host of incidents of late, including being detained in the Russian city of Sochi, where this year's Winter Olympics were held, and another in which they were attacked with whips by Cossack militia.