October 24, 2012 15:33

Pussy Riot: 'The Russian government listen to our telephones'

Freed member of the punk collective says the women were under 'constant surveillance' in prison

Pussy Riot: 'The Russian government listen to our telephones'

Photo: PA

The freed member of imprisoned Russian punk collective Pussy Riot has claimed the Russian Government are listening to their telephones.

Speaking to NME in this week's issue, which is on newsstands from today or available digitally, Yekaterina Samutsevich said the group are still under close surveillance. Samutsevich was released from prison on October 10 on appeal after her lawyers successfully argued that she hadn't even managed to take her guitar out of its case before being kicked out of the cathedral.

When asked if she will keep participating in Pussy Riot actions now she's free, she replied: "Yes, I don't want to sit home and do nothing. But it's a more complicated situation for me now. I must act more carefully. They listen to our telephones."

When asked what conditions were like in prison, she said: "It was like Groundhog Day. We were all under constant surveillance. All our correspondence was read. In terms of other things: food, a shower once a week, everything was bearable. But if they try to take me back I'll go insane."

Samutsevich speaks out as the two remaining imprisoned members of Pussy Riot have been separated and sent to prison camps far away from their families. The conditions in the camps are reported to be brutal, with the other members of Pussy Riot calling them "the harshest camps of all the possible choices", The Guardian reports.

Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, who has a four-year-old daughter called Gera, has been sent to Mordovia, about 300 miles east of Moscow. Meanwhile, Maria Alyokhina, who has a five-year-old son called Filipp, has gone to Siberia's remote Perm region, which is about 700 miles east of the capital. The areas were used for mass prison colonies in the Soviet era.

Three members of Pussy Riot were convicted of "hooliganism motivated by religious hatred" in August following an impromptu gig at Moscow's main cathedral in protest against Vladimir Putin's re-election and sentenced to two years in jail. Their punishment has seen condemnation across the music world with a raft of artists including Paul McCartney, Bjork and Madonna speaking out against the harsh verdict.

To read the full interview with Yekaterina Samutsevich, pick up a copy of this week's [s]NME[/i] which is on newsstands from today or available digitally.

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