MOSCOW, September 30 (RIA Novosti) – A jailed Pussy Riot rocker who was hospitalized Sunday amid a hunger strike over prison conditions is being held in isolation and not allowed to meet with lawyers or receive phone calls, her supporters said Monday.
Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, a member of the anti-Kremlin feminist punk group Pussy Riot, is undergoing medical screening to monitor her health after she declared a hunger strike last Monday, according to the Gruppa Voina Twitter account that is believed to be authored by her husband, Pyotr Verzilov.
Hospital officials will not allow her to see or speak to anyone, and her family hasn’t been given any information about her condition in over 94 hours, according to entries posted on the Twitter page.
“The FSIN [Federal Penitentiary Service] has declared a complete blockade of Nadia [Tolokonnikova],” Gruppa Voina tweeted. “The lawyers are being denied visits. Calls aren’t answered.”
The Gruppa Voina account’s author posted a photo of a seemingly official document in which hospital officials banned Tolokonnikova from having visitors because of her “poor condition.”
Gennady Morozov, the ombudsman for Russia's republic of Mordovia, where the jailed activist's prison colony is located, said Monday that Tolokonnikova was “OK” and that she was continuing her hunger strike in the hospital. He told RIA Novosti he would visit her on Wednesday.
The 23-year-old shock rocker’s lawyer, Dmitry Dinze, has appealed to Russia’s Investigative Committee to carry out an inspection of the colony and open a criminal case against its officials for abuse of power and their treatment of the inmates as “slaves,” a Russian human rights group told RAPSI legal news agency on Monday.
The group, Agora, added that Dinze had submitted two videos – one of which was an interview with an unnamed inmate at the prison – to the committee as evidence.
The Gruppa Voina account called the hospital’s isolation policy an act of revenge for a letter written by Tolokonnikova, published last Monday by news site Lenta.ru, in which she alleged shockingly inhumane labor and sanitary conditions at the women’s prison.
In the letter, Tolokonnikova, who is serving a two-year jail term for a so-called punk prayer performance in a Moscow cathedral in February 2012, also claimed that a deputy warden at the colony had threatened her life, and announced a hunger strike.
Prison authorities say the strike is an attempt at blackmail after they denied Tolokonnikova privileged treatment.
A member of the Presidential Council on Human Rights, Ilya Shablinsky, visited the prison and met with Tolokonnikova and seven other inmates in the days after the letter was published.
He verified Tolokonnikova’s allegations in comments to the media after the interviews, telling Russian news outlet Gazeta.ru that the conversations he had had with the inmates “made his hair stand on end.”
The penal colony announced on its website Monday that it had hosted an “open doors” day, where inmates' families could take a tour of the prison and ask the jail authorities questions.
“After the official part of the event, tea was served in the cafeteria, where convicts and their relatives were able to mingle in an informal setting,” the penal colony’s statement said.
It did not clarify whether the event was a response to the prison’s recent negative media coverage.
Updated to include information about Tolokonnikova's lawyer's appeal to the Investigative Committee and new tweets from the Gruppa Voina Twitter account.