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Pussy Riot punk rocker packed off to Siberian penal colony

AFP-JIJI

Jailed Pussy Riot punk rocker Nadezhda Tolokonnikova has been moved to a prison camp in Siberia several thousand kilometers from Moscow, Russia’s rights ombudsman said Tuesday.

Tolokonnikova, 24, who is serving a two-year sentence in a penal colony for a protest targeted at President Vladimir Putin staged by her punk band in Moscow’s main cathedral, has not been seen by supporters since Oct. 22.

The Russian prison service announced last month that it was moving her to a new penal colony after she held a hunger strike to demand a transfer for the last months of her sentence, which ends in March.

She had complained in an open letter of slave labor conditions and receiving a death threat from a senior prison official at her penal colony in the central Russian region of Mordovia.

“Tolokonnikova has arrived in the Krasnoyarsk region, where she will be serving a part of her term,” the Interfax news agency quoted rights ombudsman Vladimir Lukin as saying.

“I have been told that, according to her wishes, she has been placed (in the penal colony’s) medical ward,” Lukin added without explaining why Tolokonnikova had asked to be treated by doctors.

Lukin’s press service had earlier explained that Tolokonnikova had been sent to western Siberia because she is formally registered as living in the city of Norilsk, in the far north of the Krasnoyarsk region.

Her husband and young daughter live in Moscow, however.

The move to a remote Siberian region appears to be a punishment for Tolokonnikova, since it is much farther from Moscow than her previous location. The regional capital, Krasnoyarsk, is around 3,000 km from Moscow.