Pussy Riot member Nadezhda Tolokonnikova goes on hunger strike in jail

 

A jailed member of the punk band Pussy Riot has launched a hunger strike to protest against living conditions in prison which she says “treat women like cattle”.

In a long letter Nadezhda Tolokonnikova says she is lucky to get four hours of sleep a night and has received a death threat from a prison official.

Tolokonnikova was jailed for two years in August 2012 after performing what the band called a “punk prayer” in a Moscow cathedral in a protest against Vladimir Putin.

As part of her punishment she has to sew police uniforms, and says she is expected to work 16 or 17 hours a day, starting at 7.30am and not finishing until after midnight.

“I am going on hunger strike and refusing to participate in colony slave labour,” Tolokonnikova wrote in a letter circulated by her husband, Pyotr Verzilov.“I will do this until the administration stops treating incarcerated women like cattle,” she wrote.

In the best case scenario we get four hours of sleep per night,“ Tolokonnikova says. ”We get a day off once every six weeks. Almost all Sundays are work days. Prisoners are forced to write requests to work on weekends saying it is their own voluntary decision.“

She says she will refuse food until her concerns are addressed. ”As of Monday 23 September I announce that I am on hunger strike. This is an extreme method, but I am absolutely certain that it is the only way out of this situation for me. The prison colony's administration refuses to listen to me.”

Though she has not been subject to violence, she says others are regularly beaten on the face or kidneys. The beatings are carried out by other inmates, but “never happen without the knowledge and sanction of the prison authorities”. Tolokonnikova also wrote that Mordovia, where she is, remains one of the most feared in Russia.

A Mordovia prison system spokesman denied all of Tolokonnikova's allegations calling her claims of death threats “absurd”. Earlier this year Maria Alyokhina, another member of Pussy Riot also subject to prison, went on hunger strike for 11 days against conditions in the prison in the Perm region where she is serving her sentence. The prison authorities met many of her demands. Both she and Tolokonnikova are due for release in March next year.

Protestors demonstrate against the prison sentences of the Russian band Pussy Riot Protestors demonstrate against the prison sentences of the Russian band Pussy Riot  

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Packaging Operatives

£7 - £8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: An opportunity has arisen for two indivi...

Ashdown Group: Trainee / Graduate Helpdesk Analyst

£20000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A highly reputable business is looking to rec...

Recruitment Genius: Estimator

£28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is a major supplier of buil...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developer

£28000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas