No violation found in colony where Pussy Riot’s Tolokonnikova held hunger strike
MOSCOW, December 4 (RAPSI) - The Federal Service for Execution of Punishment in Russia has not found violations of the law in the Mordovian colony where jailed Pussy Riot member Nadezhda Tolokonnikova staged a hunger strike in the fall, according to a statement released by the service Wednesday via the Presidential Council for Human Rights.
On September 23, Tolokonnikova declared a hunger strike and requested the initiation of a criminal case against the deputy warden, who she alleged threatened her with murder. She also complained about the custodial circumstances and conditions of work. The Federal Penitentiary Service claims that the hunger strike was initiated after her demands to be comfortably accommodated in prison were rejected. On October 1, Tolokonnikova called off the strike. She reportedly gave up her nine-day-long fast because of unspecified health problems.
On October 18, she declared another hunger strike, and after a few days the Federal Service for Execution of Punishment said that Pussy Riot member will be moved to another prison. In November, Tolokonnikova was transferred to the Krasnoyarsk Territory. On October 24, investigators dismissed Tolokonnikova's request to open a case against the deputy warden of the colony.
In February 2012, five young women wearing brightly colored balaclavas staged a punk rock prayer in Moscow's Christ the Savior Cathedral. An edited video of their performance was posted on the Internet and caused a public outcry.
In August 2012, the Khamovnichesky District Court in Moscow sentenced Tolokonnikova and two other Pussy Riot members - Maria Alyokhina and Yekaterina Samutsevich - to two years in a prison settlement for hooliganism. In October 2012, the Moscow City Court changed Samutsevich's verdict to a suspended sentence and released her immediately based on her new attorneys' argument that she had been seized by security guards prior to reaching the altar.The sentences of Tolokonnikova and Alyokhina were upheld.
In mid-autumn the members of the Presidential Council for Human Rights submitted their inquiry report including their opinion that Tolokonnikova's hunger strike was previously planned and coordinated “from the outside”. Also they recommended to sign labour contracts with women in Mordovian colony and stop “forcing convicted persons to work over 8 hours a day”. According to the service's answer, this information was searched and no law violation was found in the colony.