Pussy riot member Nadezhda Tolokonnikova now missing for more than three weeks – with her disappearance sparking fears some of the Greenpeace 30 could also be 'lost'

Family of British man Iain Rogers say they won’t be happy until all prisoners arrive safely in St Petersburg

The jailed Pussy Riot musician Nadezhda Tolokonnikova has now been “lost” in the Russian penal system for more than three weeks, and her disappearance has led to fears for the safety of other high-profile prisoners.

Last week, reports emerged from Ms Tolokonnikova’s husband, Peter Verzilov, that his wife could have been transferred to a remote detention facility in the heart of Siberia, where authorities could “cut her off from the outside world”.

It has been 23 days since Mr Verzilov said he last heard from or saw the band member. She is serving a two year sentence for “hooliganism motivated by religious hatred”, after Pussy Riot performed songs in Moscow’s largest cathedral which called for the Virgin Mary to remove President Vladimir Putin from office.

Now the mother of one of the British men detained following a Greenpeace protest on a Gazprom arctic oil rig has expressed her concern some of those prisoners will also be “lost” in transportation.

Sue Turner, the mother of second engineer Iain Rogers, added that the consular support she had received from the British authorities had been “patchy”.

A total of 30 people on board the Greenpeace ship Arctic Sunrise were taken into custody in September.

The group of 28 activists and two journalists were being held in Murmansk but have now embarked on a 27-hour train journey to St Petersburg around 800 miles away.

While they are due to arrive at noon local time tomorrow (8am GMT), Ms Turner feared that some of the group might similarly be made to disappear during the journey.

She said: “I'm just worried that they are going to lose some of them on the way to St Petersburg. I won't be really happy until they all arrive there and we know where all 30 are.

“They have lost a Pussy Riot member, she's disappeared. What's to say that they cannot lose some of our Arctic 30 while they are transporting them from Murmansk to St Petersburg and then onto maybe different prisons in St Petersburg?

“They are not necessarily going to be sent to the same place. We were told that they were hoping they would be sent to the same place but we have got no guarantee of that at all and no guarantee that their conditions are going to be any better.”

When asked what motive the Russian authorities could have for losing some of the activists, she replied: “It would make life easier for them. They would have less people to worry about, less people to prosecute.”

The families of all six UK nationals being held by the Russian authorities met with Europe minister David Lidington yesterday.

Ms Turner said: “The consular support initially was very patchy. I don't think it was good enough.

“It has improved since our last meeting in London and probably it will improve now the minister knows our feelings about the lack of communication, lack of honesty with the consular staff.”

The relatives of father-of-three activist Phil Ball also met with David Cameron as they are from his constituency of Witney in Oxfordshire. But they admitted that they knew how little influence the Prime Minister – and indeed the Foreign Office – can have on matters in the Russian case.

Mr Ball’s brother Steve said: “He can have no grounds for optimism. The gentle influence that the British Foreign Office can have is being placed at the moment. Until we get a sentence there is nothing for us to react to.”

The Britons being held are Mr Ball, 42, Mr Rogers, 37, from Exeter, video journalist Kieron Bryan, 29, from Devon, and activists Alexandra Harris, 27, originally also from Devon, Frank Hewetson, 48, from London, and Anthony Perrett, 32, from Newport.

Additional reporting by the Press Association

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
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: Software Developer

£27500 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Telemarketers / Sales - Home Based - OTE £23,500

£19500 - £23500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Experienced B2B Telemarketer wa...

Recruitment Genius: Showroom Assistant

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This global company are looking for two Showro...

Recruitment Genius: Telesales Executive - OTE £25,000

£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This publishing company based i...

Day In a Page

Fifa corruption: The 161-page dossier that exposes the organisation's dark heart

The 161-page dossier that exposes Fifa's dark heart

How did a group of corrupt officials turn football’s governing body into what was, in essence, a criminal enterprise? Chris Green and David Connett reveal all
Mediterranean migrant crisis: 'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves,' says Tripoli PM

Exclusive interview with Tripoli PM Khalifa al-Ghweil

'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves'
Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles: How the author foretold the Californian water crisis

Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles

How the author foretold the Californian water crisis
Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison as authorities crackdown on dissent in the arts

Art attack

Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison
Marc Jacobs is putting Cher in the limelight as the face of his latest campaign

Cher is the new face of Marc Jacobs

Alexander Fury explains why designers are turning to august stars to front their lines
Parents of six-year-old who beat leukaemia plan to climb Ben Nevis for cancer charity

'I'm climbing Ben Nevis for my daughter'

Karen Attwood's young daughter Yasmin beat cancer. Now her family is about to take on a new challenge - scaling Ben Nevis to help other children
10 best wedding gift ideas

It's that time of year again... 10 best wedding gift ideas

Forget that fancy toaster, we've gone off-list to find memorable gifts that will last a lifetime
Paul Scholes column: With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards

Paul Scholes column

With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards
Heysel disaster 30th anniversary: Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget fateful day in Belgium

Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget Heysel

Thirty years ago, 39 fans waiting to watch a European Cup final died as a result of a fatal cocktail of circumstances. Ian Herbert looks at how a club dealt with this tragedy
Amir Khan vs Chris Algieri: Khan’s audition for Floyd Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation, says Frank Warren

Khan’s audition for Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation

The Bolton fighter could be damned if he dazzles and damned if he doesn’t against Algieri, the man last seen being decked six times by Pacquiao, says Frank Warren
Blundering Tony Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

Blundering Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

For Arabs – and for Britons who lost their loved ones in his shambolic war in Iraq – his appointment was an insult, says Robert Fisk
Fifa corruption arrests: All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue

Fifa corruption arrests

All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue, says Ian Herbert
Isis in Syria: The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of President Assad and militant fighters

The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of Assad and Isis

In Syrian Kurdish cantons along the Turkish border, the progressive aims of the 2011 uprising are being enacted despite the war. Patrick Cockburn returns to Amuda
How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields: Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape the US

How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields

Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape to the US
Stephen Mangan interview: From posh buffoon to pregnant dad, the actor has quite a range

How Stephen Mangan got his range

Posh buffoon, hapless writer, pregnant dad - Mangan is certainly a versatile actor