Pussy Riot hunger striker hospitalised

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AFP

One of the jailed members of the all-girl punk band "Pussy Riot", Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, looks on while standing in the defendant's cage in a court in the town of Zubova Polyana, in the Republic of Mordovia.

Moscow - The Russian prison authorities on Friday moved jailed Pussy Riot punk band member Nadezhda Tolokonnikova to the medical unit of her penal colony after her health worsened on the fifth day of a hunger strike.

t began a hunger strike at her penal colony in central Russia's Mordovia region in protest at prisoners being forced to work excessive hours and being treated like “slaves.”

“Tolokonnikova has been brought to the medical unit from isolation,” the Voina (War) art group, which is linked to her husband Pyotr Verzilov, wrote on its Twitter account.

The message on Twitter said that the prison doctor had described her condition as “terrible”.

A spokesperson for Russia's prison service confirmed to the RIA Novosti news agency that Tolokonnikova had been moved to the prison colony's medical unit “on the recommendation of doctors”.

She had earlier accused Russian prison officers of cutting off her drinking water.

The prison service denied her claim, saying on its website that it had replaced her cold drinking water with warm boiled water on medical advice.

The 23-year-old mother of a young daughter is serving a two-year sentence for a punk protest in a Moscow cathedral last year.

Tolokonnikova in a letter released Monday accused her penal colony of forcing women prisoners to work up to 17-hour days in a sewing workshop.

She also said the colony's deputy chief had hinted she could be killed by other prisoners in revenge if they were given shorter working hours and so failed to meet targets.

The prison service said in a statement that Tolokonnikova went on hunger strike after threatening to go public on prison conditions unless she was transferred to different work.

She said in another letter published Tuesday that she had been moved to a bitterly cold isolation cell, while the prison service called it adequately comfortable.

Sapa-AFP


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