Jailed Activist Nadezhda Tolokonnikova Feared Missing

Jailed Feminist Nadezhda Tolokonnikova Feared Missing

help find Nadezhda Tolokonnikova

Awry-iot girl. Jailed Pussy Riot member, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova was last seen on October 22 and though reports have suggested she was being transferred to a different prison, Russian authorities are refusing to confirm her location. Amnesty International has created a petition to plea for her safety, and to reveal her and her whereabouts. There is legitimate concern that as long as she remains in an unsecured, undisclosed location, prison authorities could be using the opportunity to intimidate and punish Nadya out of reach from her family and legal support. In addition to being a member of the performance art group Pussy Riot, 23 year-old Nadya is a philosophy student with a husband and a young daughter.

“Nadezhda Tolokonnikova has publicly complained of threats she received from prison officials. We are concerned that she now may be being punished for this and for speaking out about deplorable prison conditions.”
~ Denis Krivosheev, Amnesty International

She and partner Maria Alekhina are serving 2 years on charges of “hooliganism” for a one-minute performance on in a priests-only section of Moscow’s Cathedral of Christ the Savior, last February. The investigator’s report claims the performance was an act of religious hatred, though freepussyriot.org explains that the specific intention of the performance was to draw attention to the special relationship between President Putin and the leadership of the Russian Orthodox Church,  as well a prayer to the Madonna to drive Putin away. The women’s current release date is March 3, 2014, over two years after the offending performance.

According to AI, on October 22, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova was “bundled into a car by Russian prison authorities, with the aim of moving her from one remote penal colony to another.”  On November 14, Russian prison authorities revealed that Nadya is in the Krasnoyarsk region. Nadya’s husband told AI that he spoke to his wife on the phone on November 13 for the first time in 26 days. He says that Nadya is in the Krasnoyarsk tuberculosis hospital undergoing tests in connection with complications following her hunger strike. She told her husband that she “was in fact in the Krasnoyarsk region on 11 and 12 of November “- which contradicts statements by the authorities that she was not in the region at this time.

Nadya’s lawyer fears that authorities are taking advantage of this legislation to intimidate her and her family by ‘deliberately making her life difficult’. Her family says that she has been subjected to a campaign of intimidation by prison authorities during the past year.

In September, she launched a hunger strike to protest against what she called slave labour conditions and degrading treatment at the penal colony in Mordovia, where she was imprisoned until her disappearance. As a result, she was send to solitary confinement, ‘for her own safety’ according to prison authorities. She says she was sent a death threat by the penal colony’s deputy director, ‘You will definitely not suffer any more. Nobody suffers in the afterlife.’

The working conditions at the Mordovian penal colony where Nadya was being held are illegal under Russia’s labour code. This was verified by a presidential working group on human rights that visited the colony following Nadya’s complaint. The prisoners work 12-16 hours every day, seven days a week at less than minimum wage, with no contracts, legal protection, or means to discuss working conditions.

Sign Amnesty International’s petition here and go to freepussyriot.org to learn more about the band’s struggle for free speech and its resulting imprisonment.Casandra Armour 

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