Hunger-striking 'Pussy Riot' member on IV drip
By Anna Smolchenko, AFPMOSCOW--Jailed punk band Pussy Riot member Nadezhda Tolokonnikova has been put on an IV drip in hospital as she enters the eighth day of a hunger strike, a prison doctor said on Monday.
October 1, 2013, 12:09 am TWN
Tolokonnikova went on hunger strike on Sept. 23, releasing an open letter in which she described harrowing conditions at her prison and claimed that she had received death threats over her complaints.
“She agreed for medicine to be given to her intravenously,” Alexander Pozdnyakov, chief doctor at a prison hospital in Mordovia, told AFP by phone.
Tolokonnikova's husband Pyotr Verzilov said Monday the 23-year-old had been held incommunicado for 90 hours.
The activist, who stopped eating to protest what she described as “slave labor conditions” and death threats, was moved on Sunday to the hospital from her Mordovia prison colony.
Prison management denies the charges, but Tolokonnikova has said she will refuse food until she is transferred to another jail.
She is serving a two-year sentence for performing a protest song against President Vladimir Putin in Moscow's main cathedral last year.
Verzilov said authorities at the prison hospital had denied his request to see his wife, and had also refused to allow the couple to speak by phone.
“They explained it by the fact that her state of health is so bad that she cannot speak with her defense,” he said.
On Sunday, Verzilov issued an open letter addressed to the head of the Federal Service for the Execution of Punishment, which oversees prisons, protesting that Tolokonnikova was being held incommunicado.
On Monday, one of her lawyers filed a complaint about the conditions at her prison to the Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights.
“The situation in which Ms. Tolokonnikova finds herself in the Correctional Colony No. 14 in Mordovia, Russia constitutes one of the abhorrent contemporary 'slave-like' practices,” lawyer Sergei Golubok wrote in English.
Tolokonnikova's open letter ignited a fresh debate about filthy jail conditions and prisoner abuse in Russia.
Several prominent figures called on the young mother to stop her protest.
“Unfortunately, our society only reacts to extreme situations,” veteran rights activist Lyudmila Alexeyeva said on Moscow Echo radio.
“I would like to ask her to stop the hunger strike, she's achieved her goal.”