Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Pussy Riot Member, 'Transferred To Siberia'

Pussy Riot Member Transferred To Siberia

Jailed Pussy Riot band member Nadezhda Tolokonnikova is on her way to a new penal colony in Siberia, her husband said Tuesday, following fears after two weeks without information about her whereabouts.

Tolokonnikova, 23, who alleged major prison abuses in her previous colony in central Russia, is on her way to a new prison colony deep in the Krasnoyarsk region, her husband Pyotr Verzilov wrote on Twitter, saying the information comes from a reliable source.

The penal colony number 50 in the town of Nizhny Ingash lies about 300 kilometres (185 miles) from the regional centre Krasnoyarsk, four time zones away from Moscow and sitting on Russia's Trans-Siberian railway.

"Essentially, she is transferred 4,500 kilometres (2,800 miles) from central Russia to the heart of Siberia as punishment for the resonance of her letter" that alleged abuses, Verzilov added.

With just months left of her two-year term for performing a "punk prayer" in Russia's main Orthodox cathedral protesting ties between the Russian Orthodox Church and the Kremlin, Tolokonnikova had demanded to be transferred from her prior colony in Mordovia region.

She went on a hunger strike in protest of conditions she described as "slave labour" and constant harassment by colony administration. The strike ended when she started having health problems and was placed on a drip in the prison hospital.

Verzilov then said he had lost sight of his wife after October 22, and complained that his queries to Russia's prison service as to her whereabouts only received a response that she was being transferred.

Russia's rights ombudsman Vladimir Lukin said Tuesday that he had been assured that Tolokonnikova was in good health and had a doctor accompanying her on her long transfer.

"She is eating and they say her health is acceptable," he told Interfax. Her transfer has her completely isolated "in the interests of security," he added.

Russian prison service takes days if not weeks to transfer prisoners, usually on trains, and says it is standard practice not to inform the convicts' families of the process.

Copyright (2013) AFP. All rights reserved.

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