www.baltimoresun.com/entertainment/la-fg-wn-pussy-riot-songstress-now-serving-time-in-central-siberia-20131112,0,4305619.story

baltimoresun.com

Pussy Riot leader now serving time in central Siberia

By Sergei L. Loiko

3:47 PM EST, November 12, 2013

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MOSCOW -- Pussy Riot leader Nadezhda Tolokonnikova is  now in a prison hospital near Krasnoyarsk in central  Siberia, a Russian official said Tuesday.

“Tolokonnikova has arrived in the Krasnoyarsk territory, where she will serve the rest of her term,” Vladimir Lukin, presidential human rights envoy told the Interfax news agency. “I was told [by Russian prison system authorities] she is in [the prison] hospital at her own request.”

Tolokonnikova, 24, and two bandmates were sentenced in August 2012 to two years each behind bars for hooliganism after engaging in what they called a punk prayer at a cathedral in downtown Moscow in the middle of the February 2012 presidential campaign. The band members' song begged the Virgin Mary to get rid of Russian leader Vladimir Putin, who later won the election.

After writing an open letter Sept. 23 charging human rights violations at the prison colony in Mordovia, a region in central Russia, Tolokonnikova was transferred several weeks later to a previously undisclosed location.

While she was  in transit, her husband, Pyotr Verzilov, told reporters he had not received any news from or about her for more than three weeks. Her lawyer, Irina Khrunova, said Sunday that she had been told by prison system sources that Tolokonnikova was being transferred to a facility east of Krasnoyarsk and that while she was being transferred, "they can't officially tell us where she is now and where she is heading for security reasons."

Authorities said Monday that she had now arrived at the Siberian facility.

"In principle conditions in Krasnoyarsk [regional] colonies are quite passable, as our constant studies show,” Lukin told Interfax. “[Hers] is not the worst colony”.

Both Tolokonnikova and band member Maria Alyokhina are expected to be freed in March. Alyokhina is serving her term in a colony in the Nizhny Novgorod region in central Russia.

A third band member, Yekaterina Samutsevich, had her sentenced suspended after the court ruled she was not directly involved in the  church incident.


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sergei.loiko@latimes.com