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Pussy Riot at Riot Fest in Chicago last weekvia @pussyrrriot’s Twitter

Doctors say it’s likely that Pussy Riot activist was poisoned

Pyotr Verzilov is currently recovering in Germany

Pussy Riot activist, Pyotr Verzilov, was recently transferred to Germany for treatment after he experienced a loss of sight, speech and mobility. Now, his doctors have confirmed the group’s suspicions that his symptoms are most likely the result of poisoning.

“The information we currently have shows a high plausibility that poisoning has taken place here,” Dr. Kai-Uwe Eckardt said at a press conference on Tuesday. “To turn it around, so far we have no indication that there might be another explanation for his state. We are working on the assumption of a poisoning that has lasted about a week. Test results indicate certain active ingredients, but the exact substance has not yet been determined.”

The activist group has been using social media to update their followers on Pyotr’s condition as it develops. Today they uploaded a picture of him in a hospital bed explaining that his illness has left him disoriented. “He does not understand that he’s in Germany, that he’s in a hospital and there are doctors around him, not prison wardens,” they wrote. “Peter still has his unique sense of humor. When he saw me and Nika Nikulshina yesterday he said: ‘So good to see you without handcuffs.’”

Verzilov was one of the protesters to be arrested several times after a pitch invasion protest during the World Cup final, and his illness followed shortly after an arrest that took place just over a week ago when he was taken into custody after he left his home for unspecified reasons. 

Rumours of the poisonings had spread quickly online as Pussy Riot openly condemned the poisoning and intimidation of Russian activists. The group performed at Chicago’s Riot Fest on September 14, and began their set by wearing their distinct Pussy Riot balaclavas carrying a banner that read: “We will punish those who poisoned Peter Verzilov.” Peter being the more anglicised moniker of Pyotr.

There was also some suspicion about the type of substance he had been poisoned with saying that it could have been a medication named scopolamine, or “Devil’s breath”, a drug that impacts your memory. “It’s known among criminals, those who want to poison, rob, or rape someone. It’s also known as a “date-rape drug”. It has no taste or smell, you can add it to the food or drink. And it causes amnesia, it means that you can do whatever you want with someone and they will not remember who you are,” they explained in the online post.

The group have received support online from the likes of Cher, who took to Twitter to condemn the news by saying she respects “rock chicks who go to prison and risk their lives rather than comprimise their principles”. As this latest episode comes just off the heels of the Salisbury poisoning of a former KGB spy and his daughter, Canadian Prime Minister weighed in by expressing deep concern over Pyotr’s condition “particularly given actions of recent months by the Russians in the UK.”

See below for more updates from the group have appeared on Pussy Riot’s Instagram and Twitter.