November 13, 2013 21:28

Russian authorities reveal the location of Pussy Riot's Nadezhda Tolokonnikova

It has been confirmed that the activist is in a penal colony in Siberia, 2000 miles from her family in Moscow

Russian authorities reveal the location of Pussy Riot's Nadezhda Tolokonnikova

Photo: PA

Russian authorities have confirmed that Pussy Riot's Nadezhda Tolokonnikova has been transferred to a penal colony in Siberia.

A statement - via the Independent - says that she has been placed in a jail in the province of Krasnoyarsk, adding that this is partly due to Tolokonnikova being a "a native of Krasnoyarsk Krai, permanently registered in Norilsk". Rights ombudsman Vladimir Lukin is quoted as saying: "Tolokonnikova has arrived in the Krasnoyarsk region, where she will be serving a part of her term... I have been told that, according to her wishes, she has been placed [in the penal colony's] medical ward." He added that new prisoners are placed in quarantine for 10 days on arrival and she will be able to see lawyers and her husband soon.

After being moved from her old prison, her whereabouts were unknown, leading her family and friends to suggest she had gone missing. However, Tolokonnikova's husband, Petya Verzilov, recently revealed that he had received reliable information that she was being moved to a prison in the Krasnoyarsk region, four time zones and 2000 miles from her family in Moscow. Though he did not know the exact prison location, he suggested it could be Prison No 50 in Nizhny Ingash, 200 miles from the regional centre of Krasnoyarsk. The exact location of the jail still has not been confirmed.

According to The Guardian, Verzilov said the move was punishment for the Pussy Riot member's public complaints about her treatment in prison and the Russian authorities' desire to remove her from the global media spotlight. "They do not have the ability to put on the usual psychological or physical pressure they can use with inmates because of the high profile of the case," he said. "So they have chosen this as the punishment instead."

Earlier his autumn Tolokonnikova suspended 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."

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 Saviour in Moscow in February 2012. They are set for release next year.

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