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Pussy Riot's Tolokonnikova Could Resume Hunger Strike

Jailed Pussy Riot activist Nadezhda Tolokonnikova has vowed to resume the hunger strike that she had called of Tuesday if the government and the prison where she is incarcerated failed to meet her conditions.

She has called for the prison to be inspected and for the safety of all inmates who gave testimony about the prison's conditions to be ensured. She also wants to be transferred to another prison if the authorities refuse to charge deputy prison head Yury Kupriyanov, who Tolokonnikova accused of threatening to kill her.

If Kupriyanov is charged, she will agree to see out the rest of her sentence in the same prison in Mordovia, according to Lenta.ru, who was informed about Tolokonnikova's demands by her husband, Pyotr Verzilov, and State Duma Deputy Ilya Ponomaryov.

Tolokonnikova ended her eight-day hunger strike Tuesday and was put on a special diet, the Federal Prison Service said Tuesday in a statement. Her condition was described as stable.

A task force from the presidential human rights council on the same day said the prison's officials had regularly broken confinement rules, based on its investigation into Tolokonnikova's accusations of widespread abuse that she published in a letter Sept. 23.

Following interviews with Tolokonnikova and other inmates, the three task-force inspectors reported that prisoners worked between 12 and 16 hours a day, often including Sundays, even though the Labor Code only permits a maximum 40-hour work week.

The inspectors also believe that the camp contains "sections of discipline and order," a prison institution by which selected inmates assist the administration in enforcing adherence to camp rules. These "sections" were banned by the Justice Ministry in 2010.

Prison officials Wednesday refuted Tolokonnikova's account of prison conditions.

When Tolokonnikova's letter appeared on the Internet, "ordinary people probably took it at face value, but those who work in the system understand that this is not possible," said Viktor Brezgin, head of the public council of Mordovia's prison service.

He said reports of prisoners working up to 16 hours a day were "fantasy," Interfax reported.

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