MOSCOW, October 12 (RIA Novosti) – A jailed Pussy Riot rocker who was hospitalized two weeks ago amid a hunger strike over prison conditions has accused Russian authorities of an “information blockade” imposed on her, suggesting that this was a “political” decision.
Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, a member of the anti-Kremlin punk group Pussy Riot, was transferred to a prison hospital after her health began deteriorating. Since then, she was not allowed to meet with lawyers or receive phone calls. She was only able to meet with her lawyer on Friday.
In an open letter published Saturday by news site Lenta.ru, Tolokonnikova said there were "no medical grounds" for her to be denied access to lawyers and visitors and claimed that she would not change her views about the conditions in the Mordovian prison, where she is serving her two-year jail term.
Last month, Tolokonnikova accused the administration of her Mordovian prison, in the Volga federal district, of exploiting inmates and keeping them in inhumane conditions. She said prison officials threatened to beat her up or even kill her for speaking out. Prison officials have denied the allegations.
"I want to make a declaration to everyone who is linked to having put me in isolation," Tolokonnikova wrote in her letter. “If you think that without contact with my friends I will become amenable and go back on the views I have formed about the condition of Mordovia's camps during my time in jail, then you are horribly mistaken.”
Tolokonnikova said she was insulted by a statement made by the members of Russia's Presidential Council for Human Rights that the nine-day-long hunger strike she declared in late September had been “initiated from outside.”
“One should disrespect and neglect me so much to have made such a statement! This is my jail term, my struggle, my rights, my health and my life,” Tolokonnikova wrote.
Tolokonnikova and two other Pussy Riot members received a two-year jail sentence in August 2012 after being found guilty of hooliganism for performing a raucous protest song at Mosow's Christ the Savior Cathedral against the imminent re-election of Vladimir Putin as president earlier that year.