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World's media search for jailed Pussy Riot singer 'missing in Siberia'

By Anna Liesowska
12 November 2013

Husband of Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, 24, says her health a 'major concern' after two hunger strikes.

Pyotr Verzilov, pictured in Krasnoyarsk region, Siberia. 'It could take another week before any news of Nadezhda; the prison authorities are permitted to inform relatives within ten days of a convict's arrival at a new jail'. Picture: Pyotr Verzilov 

Jailed for two years over a Moscow cathedral protest, the feminist political campaigner is being moved by train to serve the remainder of her sentence in Siberia, says her husband Peter Verzilov. But for the last three weeks he and her lawyers have had no contact with her.

He has based himself in Kransoyarsk region - where she was born - after being tipped off this is where the prison authorities will move her.

'We are absolutely sure she is alive, but her health is the major concern,' he said. 'We have no trust to the adequacy of prison health, so she may have serious problems with her health.'

Nadezhda had demanded a jail switch claiming that in Mordovia she was subject to slave labour conditions and a threat to her life. The Pussy Riot performer went on two hunger strikes to get her demands met.

'We have no news yet, we still are in the dark,' her husband told The Siberian Times in Krasnoyarsk city. 'We think with a high probability she will arrive here. At least, we have no other information'. 

Nadezhda Tolokonnikova with daughter Gera, aged 4

Nadezhda Tolokonnikova with daughter Gera, aged 4. Picture: Andrey Tolokonnikov

The case has attracted huge worldwide attention but in Russia a substantial percentage of people think she was rightly jailed for a performance in Christ the Saviour Cathedral in Moscow which offended believers. Her stunt was seen as an attack on Putin.

Verzilov forecast it could take another week before he receives news of her: the prison authorities are permitted to inform relatives within ten days of a convict's arrival at a new jail. Why it has taken so long to arrive at a new jail is unclear.

Verzilov braved temperatures of minus 23C to visit one jail, K-50, where he had been told she would be imprisoned. 

'On Friday I visited K-50 jail which is rumoured to be Nadia's next jail. I met the commandant and and discovered she is not there yet. This jail is 300 km from Krasnoyarsk city'.

Legally, the prison authorities are obliged to inform relatives within ten days of her arrival.

'The travelling time is not included in that time. But we've got quite a complicated situation, since Nadezhda submitted a claim about a murder threat from a chief of her Mordovia colony,' Verzilov alleged.

Comments (1)

"Three things cannot be long hidden, the sun, the moon, and the truth." The world is watching. Free Nadezdha!
Heather, USA
13/11/2013 14:48
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5
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