Pussy Riot member goes on hunger strike

Prisoner of conscience Nadezhda Tolokonnikova protests the "slave-like" conditions of her jail

Nadezhda Tolokonnikova

Jailed Pussy Riot member Nadezhda Tolokonnikova has announced that she will go on hunger strike over the “slavery-like conditions” in her prison.

In an open letter, she describes how prisoners in her labour camp are forced to work up to 17 hour a day, with only four hours of sleep a night and one day off every six weeks.

 She writes:

I will not remain silent, resigned to watch as my fellow prisoners collapse under the strain of slavery-like conditions. I demand that the colony administration respect human rights; I demand that the Mordovia camp function in accordance with the law. I demand that we be treated like human beings, not slaves.

According to Tolokonnikova, the administration ignores all complaints and will instead “use all of its mechanisms for putting pressure on the prisoner so she will see that her complaints will not help anyone, but only make thing worse”. After complaining through her lawyer, Tolokonnikova describes how one of her friends at the colony was denied parole; another was given “daily beatings” for associating with her.

Tolokonnikova and fellow Pussy Riot member Maria Alyokhina are serving out two-year sentences for hooliganism. Last February, the two members – along with Yekaterina Samutsevich, who was released on a suspended sentence – stormed a cathedral in Moscow and staged an anti-Putin protest. Amnesty International considers both to be prisoners of conscience. 

Click on the gallery to follow the story of their incarceration.

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