Jailed Pussy Riot member ends hunger strike

 

MOSCOW (AP) – An imprisoned member of the punk band Pussy Riot ended her nine-day hunger strike on Tuesday but her husband said she has vowed to restart it if she is not moved to another prison.

Pyotr Verzilov told The Associated Press that his wife, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, was in stable condition after a hunger strike to protest working conditions in the women's prison where she is serving a two-year sentence.

She and two other members of the group were convicted of hooliganism for performing a provocative “punk prayer” in Moscow's main Orthodox cathedral in 2012 denouncing Vladimir Putin, who was returning to the Russian presidency.

The Federal Penitentiary Service confirmed that Tolokonnikova ended the hunger strike on Tuesday, two days after she was transferred to a prison hospital. Her lawyer, Irina Khrunova, said her client's deteriorating health had been the main factor in calling off the hunger strike.

In a passionate, five-page letter on Sept. 23, Tolokonnikova described slave-like conditions at Penal Colony No. 14 in the Mordovia region, about 500 kilometers (300 miles) east of Moscow. She said the inmates were working 16-hour days and most weekends sewing police uniforms on machines that required constant repair. Members of brigades that failed to meet their quotas were punished by being denied food, prevented from using the bathroom or made to stand outside in the cold, she wrote.

Tolokonnikova also complained of threats from prison administrators, who she said used prisoners to terrorize their fellow inmates.

Prison authorities have dismissed Tolokonnikova's allegations.

But the end of the hunger strike came the same day as members of the Russian Presidential Human Rights Council published reports confirming her description of the working conditions, based on their visit last week to the prison.

Four members of the council detailed dozens of interviews with other inmates, who reiterated many of Tolokonnikova's claims. But they stopped short of supporting her demand to be moved to another penal colony, suggesting instead she be moved to a different division within the prison. They also asserted there was not enough evidence to warrant a criminal investigation into the conduct of prison officials.

Tolokonnikova was expected to remain in the prison hospital for at least several weeks. According to her husband, she will agree to return to Penal Colony No. 14 only If a criminal investigation is opened.

She is due to be released from prison in March.

Read more People stories from the Miami Herald

  • As seen on TV

    Attack of Sharknado 2: Oh yeah, there’s another one

    The idea of making a movie about a tornado that scoops up thousands of sharks and sends them flying through the air to chomp their way through a bevy of people, places and things sounds totally ridiculous. That didn’t stop Syfy from moving ahead with Sharknado, a movie that became a pop culture phenomenon last year. The mania reached such a fevered level that a sequel, Sharknado 2: The Second One, was ordered. It premieres at 9 p.m. Wednesday on Syfy.

  • La vida local

    Miami Heat player Mario Chalmers goes from basketball to golf; Ariana Grande talks family problems

    You’d think Mario Chalmers would be ready for his PGA card by now. On Monday, the Miami Heat point guard held his sixth annual golf tournament in Lawrence, Kansas, benefiting his namesake foundation and hanging out with his old college teammates from his days playing basketball with the University of Kansas.

  • Celebrity roundup

    Bachelorette Andi Dorfman: I was attracted to Josh Murray from the beginning

    Bachelorette (no more) Andi Dorfman stopped by Good Morning America on Tuesday to show off her ABC swag (aka engagement ring) from former pro baseball player Josh Murray. The 27-year-old lawyer and her 29-year-old grinning fiance held hands and looked pretty happy. “I definitely knew there was that chemistry and attraction with him,” Dorfman said of their first meeting. “I'm definitely an overthinker, though, so it took me till the very end.” Plus she had to break up with 24 guys first. No wedding date has been set yet; the couple need to do more publicity first.

Miami Herald

Join the
Discussion

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category