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Home / 2013 / 11 / 13 / Russian Authorities Transfer Pussy Riot Rocker to Siberian Prison Camp
November 13, 2013

Russian Authorities Transfer Pussy Riot Rocker to Siberian Prison Camp

Human Rights First today is calling upon the Russian government to allow Pussy Riot’s Nadezhda Tolokonnikova to contact her family and lawyers following the announcement from Russia’s human rights ombudsman that she has been moved to a prison camp in the Krasnoyarsk region of Siberia. Nadezhda Tolokonnikova has not spoken with or seen anyone since it was announced she would be moved by Russian prison authorities on October 22 following protests of alleged prison abuses at her former colony in central Russia.

While Russian prison services claims the move "would promote her resocialisation," the transfer to a remote location further away from her husband and young daughter in Moscow appears to be in punishment for Tolokonnikova’s recent protests of her treatment while in a Mordovia prison. In September Tolokonnikova wrote an open letter which was published in Russian media describing her treatment at the prison colony including “slave-labour” work, beatings, and lack of sanitation. She also went on a hunger strike which ended only after she was placed in the prison hospital.

Tolokonnikova along with two other members of punk group Pussy Riot were jailed for staging a nonviolent protest against Vladimir Putin and the Russian Orthodox Church in Moscow’s main cathedral in 2012. Tolokonnikova is currently serving a two-year prison sentence for a conviction under article 213 (part 2) of “hooliganism motivated by religious hatred or hostility.” Russia’s approach to addressing hate crimes through the prism of extremism has led to an array of misuses against nonviolent dissenting voices including journalists, activists, independent media and religious organizations.

Human Rights First is concerned that the transfer of Tolonnikova to Siberia will make it nearly impossible for her family and lawyers to visit her, and we call upon the Russian authorities to provide means or transfer to allow Tolokonnikova access to legal counsel as required by law. Human Rights First also continues to call for the immediate release of the two imprisoned members of Pussy Riot who have been wrongly convicted.