Pussy Riot's Nadezhda Tolokonnikova Ends Hunger Strike After Nine Days
Posted by Joseph Lee on 10.02.2013
But she could resume if her conditions aren't met...
NME reports that Pussy Riot's Nadezhda Tolokonnikova has suspended her hunger strike after nine days due to health complications, but say she could resume the strike if her conditions over her working environment in prison aren't met. She started the strike last month to campaign against inhumane working conditions at Russia's Penal Colony #14.
She said: "I am not calling off my hunger strike, I am temporarily suspending it because of my physical condition is now very bad and there are the beginnings of health complications."
She wants to be moved to another prison and wants the colony's working conditions to be investigated. If she doesn't get her wish, she will resume the strike.
She added: "In the event, that any of these conditions are not fulfilled I will begin my hunger strike again."
Last week, on the seventh day of the strike, her husband said that she was moved to the prison's hospital. Authorities said that she is in a stable condition and is getting food through a drip. Russia's human rights ombudsman Vladimir Lukin told Russian media that she received a promise she will be moved to a different colony. However, her comment seems to suggest this isn't true.
Last week, she explained why she went on the strike. She wrote: "This is an extreme method, but I am convinced that it is my only way out of my current situation. [We get] four hours of sleep a night. We have a day off once every month and a half. We work almost every Sunday." She also said that "the hygienic and residential conditions of the camp are calculated to make the prisoner feel like a filthy animal without any rights". You can find the full letter here.
Members of the Russian Presidential Human Rights Council have published a report that confirms several of her claims about the Penal Colony. Many prisoners work as many as sixteen hours a day, which is double the eight hour legal maximum. They are also being underpaid for their work. The report didn't recommend a criminal investigation, and suggests moving Tolokonnikova to another division in the colony instead of another prison. Amnesty International has requested that Russian authorities investigate the prison camp.
Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina both had appeals for parole rejected earlier this year. They are serving two-year sentences for "breach of public order motivated by religious hatred". They were sentenced in August 2012 after performing a 'punk prayer' protest against President Vladimir Putin at the Cathedral of Christ The Savior in Moscow in February 2012.