MOSCOW, November 13 (RIA Novosti) – Russian investigators said Wednesday that they have launched a new probe into a penal colony in response to complaints by jailed anti-Kremlin punk rocker Nadezhda Tolokonnikova.
The decision marks a reversal on an earlier refusal to look into conditions at a Mordovia region penal colony, where Tolokonnikova was being held until recently.
Tolokonnikova, who is serving a two-year sentence for participating in an anti-Kremlin performance in a Moscow cathedral with her Pussy Riot punk bank, was hospitalized last month after a nine-day hunger strike that she initiated in protest at what she said were abysmal jail conditions.
Tolokonnikova also accused the Mordovia prison’s deputy chief of threatening to kill her.
Investigators said a decision on possible sanctions against the prison official and the penal colony will depend on the outcome of their probe.
Human rights ombudsman Vladimir Lukin said Tuesday that Tolokonnikova had been moved from the Mordovian colony to a prison in her native Siberian region of Krasnoyarsk. Tolokonnikova's whereabouts had been unknown for more than 20 days, prompting widespread concern among relatives and rights activists.
A Krasnoyarsk regional prison service spokesman said Wednesday morning that Tolokonnikova has not arrived at any of the local penal colonies yet, however.
Tolokonnikova, 24, and fellow Pussy Riot member Maria Alyokhina, 26, are due for release in March.