November 1, 2013 20:12

Pussy Riot's Nadezhda Tolokonnikova reportedly 'missing'

Her family haven't known of the jailed activist's whereabouts for 10 days

Pussy Riot's Nadezhda Tolokonnikova reportedly 'missing'

Photo: PA

Jailed Pussy Riot member Nadezhda Tolokonnikova has reportedly gone missing.

Tolokonnikova's family have said that she has disappeared following her move to another jail 10 days ago. Buzzfeed reports that her father and husband last knew of her location on October 21. Andrei Tolokonnikov, her father, commented: "No one knows anything. There's no proof she's alive, we don't know the state of her health. Is she sick? Has she been beaten?"

Her husband Petya Verzilov added: "We think they moved her to a big city to hide her. It seems they got sick of these protests… This is basically the only way they have to punish Nadya — 'let's cut her off from the outside world'." Tolokonnikova has apparently been moved to a prison in Alatyr in the Volga region of Chuvashiya "for her personal safety."

Tolokonnikova recently had to suspend her nine-day hunger strike, which she began to campaign against the alleged inhumane working conditions she says she had been forced to endure at Russia's Penal Colony No 14. In a statement released to NME, she said: "I am not calling off my hunger strike, I am temporarily suspending it because of my physical condition is now very bad and there are the beginnings of health complications."

Russian authorities then refused to investigate the alleged threat made against jailed Pussy Riot member Tolokonnikova by the deputy head of the prison she was incarcerated in until recently. The local Mordovia division of country's Investigative Committee said they had discovered no evidence of any wrong-doing.

In an open letter, Tolokonnikova wrote that she asked Lieutenant Colonel Kupriyanov to let her and her fellow prisoners have eight hours of sleep. She said he then threatened her after making the request. She commented: "We were discussing decreasing the workday from 16 to 12 hours. "Fine, starting Monday, the brigade will only work for eight hours at a time," he replied. I knew this was another trap because it is physically impossible to fulfill the increased quota in 8 hours. Thus, the brigade will not have time and subsequently face punishment. "If anyone finds out that you're the one behind this, you'll never complain again," the Lieutenant Colonel continued. "After all, there's nothing to complain about in the afterlife."

Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina are both serving two-year sentences for breach of public order motivated by religious hatred. The sentences were handed to them in August 2012 after the band performed their now infamous 'punk prayer' protest against President Vladimir Putin at the Cathedral of Christ The Savior in Moscow in February 2012.

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