News Europe

Sunday 21 September 2014

Pussy Riot member may serve rest of jail term in hospital

Roland Oliphant Krasnoyarsk

Published 16/11/2013 | 02:00

  • Share

THE Pussy Riot activist Nadezhda Tolokonnikova may spend the rest of her two-year jail term in a Siberian prison hospital as she recovers from the effects of a hunger strike that brought international attention to the state of Russia's prison system.

  • Share
  • Go To

Ms Tolokonnikova, pictured, who is due to complete her sentence in March, told her husband yesterday that she had arrived at Regional Tuberculosis Hospital No 1 in the central Siberian city of Krasnoyarsk three days earlier – ending an epic 2,500-mile rail journey during which she vanished from public view.

"She is doing okay, but she is undergoing quite extensive treatment for complications that arose during her first hunger strike. It is possible that she will see out her sentence in the hospital," her husband, Pyotr Verzilov, said after speaking to her by video link.

He declined to go into detail about her health problems except to say that she was not suffering from tuberculosis and that she expected to have extensive treatment in coming days. Ms Tolokonnikova was transferred from Prison Colony No 14 in Mordovia after going on hunger strike in protest at conditions and alleged threats against her life by the prison administration.

Her arrival in Siberia this week ended 26 days of silence from the prison service.

Mr Verzilov had spent anxious weeks picketing the prison service headquarters in Moscow and chasing rumours to jails around Russia in efforts to find out where his wife was.

Temperatures in Krasnoyarsk plunge to minus 30C in winter.

The director of the secure hospital was unavailable for comment when reporters visited yesterday, but a prison officer confirmed that Ms Tolokonnikova was inside. "She's doing okay. I obviously can't give you a medical opinion, mind you," he said.

ARDUOUS

While Ms Tolokonnikova's disappearance raised concern, her experience is not out of the ordinary. Transit between prisons across Russia's vast land mass is an arduous affair involving decades-old prison trains hitched on to regular passenger services.

tops to pick up and drop prisoners mean journeys can take days or even weeks.

The authorities are not obliged to inform an inmate's family of his or her whereabouts until 10 days after they arrive at their new jail. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

Read More

Editors Choice

Also in World News