Fear for safety of "missing" Pussy Riot member | Urgent Action Network blog | 6 Nov 2013 | Amnesty International UK

Fear for safety of "missing" Pussy Riot member

Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, imprisoned member of Russian punk group Pussy Riot,  has disappeared. She was reportedly put into a car on the 22 October, apparently to be transferred to another penal colony from the one she was held at previously. Her whereabouts remain unknown, and there are serious concerns regarding her safety and wellbeing.

Russian law only obliges the penal service authorities to notify one of a prisoner’s family members as to his or her whereabouts within ten days following the prisoner’s arrival at a new penal colony. However, there are no legal limitations as to how long a prisoner can be in transit. One of Nadezhda Tolokonnikova’s lawyers has told Amnesty International that the penal service authorities may be deliberately “making her life difficult” by keeping her in transit. The lengthy transit could be a means of pressure and punishment for her recent open letter criticizing the penal administration and for her subsequent hunger strike.

Considering the most recent episodes of pressure and intimidation Nadezhda Tolokonnikova has allegedly been subjected to by officials at her previous penal colony, her family and lawyers are very concerned that she may be at risk of further intimidation and threats. There have It was reported that on the evening of 22 October Nadezhda Tolokonnikova was put into a car and taken to another prison colony, allegedly in the Chuvash town of Alatyr. However, it was later reported that she could be in a detention centre in the Urals city of Chelyabinsk. Following this information, members of the local public prison monitoring commission tried to confirm her whereabouts and visit her, but the regional penal service authorities refused to confirm if Nadezhda Tolokonnikova was being held in the territory or the region or to offer any details of her whereabouts.

Three members of Pussy Riot were imprisoned in 2012 after performing their 'Punk Prayer', wearing their trademark brightly coloured clothes and balaclavas, in a cathedral in Moscow. Amnesty international considers them prisoners of conscience, detained simply for exercising their right to free speech.

Please write immediately in Russian or your own language:

* Expressing concern about Nadezhda Tolokonnikova’s safety and urging the Russian Penal Service to disclose her whereabouts to her family;

* Expressing concern that Nadezhda Tolokonnikova is a prisoner of conscience deprived of freedom solely for peacefully exercising her right to freedom of expression and that she must be released immediately and unconditionally;

* Calling on the Russian authorities to ensure Nadezhda Tolokonnikova’s safety while in transit and at her new place of detention.

(To see an example of a letter that you could send, please see here)

Director of the Federal Service of Execution of Punishments
Gennadii Aleksandrovich Kornienko
Federal Service of Execution of Punishments, ul. Zhitnaya 14, GSP-1
119991 Moscow, Russian Federation
Fax: 007 495 982 1950; 007 495 982 1930
Email: udmail@fsin.su 
Salutation: Dear Director 

 

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