MOSCOW, October 21 (RAPSI) – Russian feminist punk group Pussy Riot member Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, who is serving a two-year jail sentence for an anti-Kremlin stunt in a Moscow cathedral, has been moved to another prison, and the defense has no information on her current whereabouts, her lawyer Irina Khrunova told RAPSI legal news agency Monday.
“Nadya is no longer in the prison colony. Investigative procedures were planned for today. I arrived, and the investigator told me that Tolokonnikova was not there; I was in shock. He was told that she has been transferred, but where to, we don’t know,” Khrunova said.
Russia’s prison service confirmed Monday that Tolokonnikova had been moved. The prison service had said Friday that she would be moved to a different prison colony due to her having expressed fear over her personal safety at her former colony in the Russian republic of Mordovia, and that one of her relatives would be informed of the location of her new prison colony within 10 days of her arrival there.
Tolokonnikova was hospitalized on October 1 after staging a nine-day hunger strike in protest against prison conditions. On Friday, she was returned to the same prison colony from the hospital.
Last month Tolokonnikova, 23, published a letter that described in graphic detail the brutal conditions inside prison colony IK-14 in Mordovia, where she had been serving her sentence since after the end of her trial in August last year. She alleged that prisoners work up to 17 hours a day for six or seven days a week, are deprived of toilet access and washing facilities, and are subject to regular beatings.
Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina, 26, who both have young children, are currently serving two-year jail sentences for taking part in a brief anti-Putin “punk prayer” in Moscow’s Cathedral of Christ the Savior in February last year. A third member of Pussy Riot, Yekaterina Samutsevich, was given a suspended sentence on appeal.
Both Tolokonnikova and Alyokhina, who is serving her sentence in a different prison colony, are due to be released in March 2014.