Hunger Strike Ensues Hospitalization for Pussy Riot Prisoner

Hunger Strike Begins for Jailed Russian Punk Band Prisoner  (update)

On Sunday after her seventh day of a hunger strike protest, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova punk band member of the Pussy Riot was removed from the labor camp in Mordovia and transported to a prison medical facility 280 miles away.

One year ago, Tolokonnikova was convicted of hooliganism and religious hatred. She and several other Pussy Riot band members entered into a Moscow church Christ the Savior cathedral and performed a song critical of Vladimir Putin just before Putin’s presidential election.

Because of Tolokonnikova’s being an unrepentant activist in her protest against Vladimir Putin and the Russian government policies, she was intentionally sent to serve her time in a Mordovia work camp in order to break her resistant will. The Mordovia work camp is notoriously known for its network of Soviet Gulag prison camps.

In the old Soviet period during the Stalin era, prisoners were used for hard labor to build Russia into a modernized industrial power. Millions of prisoners died in the Gulag camps. A prisoner had no value in the punitive system. Those who labored in the camps died either of hunger, extreme cold conditions or hard labor. Their deaths disregarded by officials as they were easily replaced by the next prisoners condemned to hard labor in the penal facility.

Appearing on its Facebook page, Tolokonnikova’s legal defense filed a formal complaint with the investigative committee concerning the camp’s abusive conditions.

Russian human rights regulator Vladimir Lukin recommended to the penal authorities, which was posted on the website of the presidential human rights commission, that Tolokonnikova be removed from the Mordovia work camp to a different penitentiary. Lukin states because of the publicity Tolokonnikova has received as an outspoken whistleblower concerning the work camp’s inhumane treatment of prisoners, it would be an unpleasant situation for the penal facility if something would happen to her.

It is still not known what Tolokonnikova is being treated for in the hospital as her hunger strike protest began only seven days ago.

Since Tolokonnikova’s outcry of the abuse of she and her fellow inmates and the inhumane conditions of the prison, she has received death threats from prison officials inside the camp. Her welfare is now at great risk.

Tolokonnikova’s husband, activist Pyotr Verzilov was advised by inmate and prison sources that his wife had been moved and the doctors at the prison hospital had accepted to her for treatment.

After day five of Tolokonnikova’s hunger strike, her health worsened. Her condition was described as being terrible.

Authorities moved the prisoner to a medical facility within the penal colony, but on day seven due to her medical condition she had to be transported to an off-site hospital.

Early Sunday morning, Verzilov addressed a letter to the Federal Service for the Execution of Punishment overseeing the prisons. He complained in the letter that his wife had been held incommunicado for over 60 hours.

Standing outside the hospital Verzilov is seeking to meet with his wife  and the mother to their small daughter to verify her condition.

After being transported for hospitalization, it is still unclear as to Tolokonnikova’s physical condition. As for the time being,  it is expected that the Pussy Riot prisoner’s hunger strike will continue until her voice is heard.

 

Written by Lisa Graziano

Source 1

Source 2

Source 3

Source 4

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.