February 2, 2013 13:49

Pussy Riot's Nadezhda Tolokonnikova transferred to prison hospital

Band member suffering from severe headaches

Pussy Riot's Nadezhda Tolokonnikova transferred to prison hospital

Photo: PA

Pussy Riot member Nadezhda Tolokonnikova has been transferred to a prison hospital, according to reports.

In October last year, 22-year-old Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina, 24, were sent to separate prison camps following their imprisonment for hoolignaism after protesting against Russian President Vladmir Putin, despite requesting to stay and serve their sentences in Moscow. Inmates in female prison colonies are reportedly required to follow a strict routine including daily work, and sleeping in large barracks with up to 200 other inmates.

Tolokonnikova was moved to the remote colony IK-14, but the Guardian reports that she has now been admitted to hospital after suffering from severe headaches. According to a statement from her lawyer, Irina Khrunova, she underwent a medical investigation in December last year that suggested that the reasons for her headaches could be "very serious", and she was moved to the hospital on January 24 following an official appeal to the prison's director.

Her bandmate Yekaterina Samutsevich, who was given a suspended sentence on appeal last year, said that Tolokonnikova had been exhausted due to her lifestyle inside the camp, which involved spending eight hours a day sewing uniforms for the Russian security services in addition to extra chores and tasks in the evening. "She works in two shifts … and has no time to relax," she said.

Earlier this week (January 30), it was reported that video footage of Pussy Riot's 'punk prayer' in a Moscow cathedral has been banned in Russia. The ban was enforced under Russia's 'extremism' law, and any internet providers who do allow access to the clip could be faced with a $3,000 fine if they fail to block it.

Samutsevich, however, said that the decision amounted to censorship and insisted that she planned on fighting it. Her bandmate Alekhina, meanwhile, was denied an appeal earlier this month. She asked for a deferral of her two-year prison sentence on the grounds that she has a five-year-old son to look after, but Berezniki City Court said her situation was already taken into account when the sentence was decided upon.

More recently Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer, a documentary about the band, won a Special Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival in the US. The documentary, directed by Mike Lerner and Maxim Pozdorovkin, tells the tale of the three Pussy Riot members, who were arrested in March 2012, and the subsequent court case which resulted in their imprisonment.

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