Pussy Riot member Nadezhda Tolokonnikova moved to Siberian colony

First official confirmation of jailed Tolokonnikova's whereabouts is announced after she vanished from sight three weeks ago

Russian officials appear to have finally revealed the whereabouts of incarcerated Pussy Riot member Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, whose disappearance three weeks ago led to an appeal for information from her family.

Russia's human rights ombudsmen Vladimir Lukin confirmed Tolokonnikova husband's fears that she would be moved to a penal colony in the depths of Siberia in a statement released on Tuesday.

The statement said Tolokonnikova will be transferred to a prison colony in the Siberian province of Krasnoyarsk after she complained about the Mordovia prison she was being detained in.

In an open letter, she described the conditions as "slavery-like", saying she was forced to work 16 to 17 hours a day and regularly got less than four hours sleep. She said they were regularly not allowed to urinate as well as suffering verbal abuse and harassment. Punishments for violating these rules were harsh and humiliating.

On 23 of September she went on hunger strike to protest against her treatment.

The statement adds that the decision to extradite Tolokonnikova to Krasnoyarsk was also made because she is "a native of Krasnoyarsk Krai, permanently registered in Norilsk". 

“Tolokonnikova has arrived in the Krasnoyarsk region, where she will be serving a part of her term,” the Interfax news agency quoted rights ombudsman Vladimir Lukin as saying.

“I have been told that, according to her wishes, she has been placed [in the penal colony's] medical ward.”

Her husband, Pyoter Verzilov has been protesting outside Colony 14, the prison she was being detained in, regularly since her abrupt disappearance. Two weeks ago he told Rolling Stone: “We think they moved her to a big city to hide her. It seems they got sick of these protests.

“They want to cut her off from the outside world.“

The new colony is 2,600 miles east of Moscow and in the heart of Sibera, placing Tolokonnikova in an even more isolated position.

Russian law only requires authorities to inform the relatives of jailed prisoners of a transfer ten days after they have been relocated to a different prison.

Tolokonnikova and fellow member Maria Alyokhina are serving sentences for “hooliganism motivated by religious hatred” after running into Moscow's biggest cathedral and singing songs calling on the Virgin Mary to remove President Vladimir Putin from office.

A third member, Ekaterina Samutsevich, was also jailed but freed on appeal. The other two are not due for release until next March.

Additional reporting by agencies

Comments