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Pussy Riot's Tolokonnikova at Hospital in Krasnoyarsk

Prison authorities in Russia confirmed Thursday that jailed anti-Kremlin punk rocker Nadezhda Tolokonnikova has been moved to a prison in Siberia, definitively ending speculation about her current whereabouts.

Tolokonnikova was transferred out of a penal colony in the Russian republic of Mordovia almost one month ago after launching hunger strikes in protest at the conditions of her detention. Authorities declined to inform relatives and colleagues where she had been taken, prompting widespread outrage.

In a curt two-line statement on its website, the Federal Penitentiary Service said Wednesday that Tolokonnikova had arrived at a facility in the Krasnoyarsk territory and that relatives had been informed of the move in accordance with the law.

Her husband Pyotr Verzilov told Snob.ru Thursday that he was able to talk to his wife on the phone when she was at Krasnoyarsk's tuberculosis hospital No. 1, where she underwent an MRI and other tests to diagnose complications arising from her hunger strike in Mordovia. She said she had been kept in isolation during the time she was missing.

The last time Tolokonnikova was seen by anybody in the outside world was on Oct. 18, when she received a visit from her lawyer.

Denis Krivosheyev, Europe and Central Asia deputy director at Amnesty International, said in a statement last week that Tolokonnikova's protracted disappearance may have been a punishment for her complaints about her prison.

Tolokonnikova is serving a two-year sentence for participating in an anti-Kremlin performance in a Moscow cathedral staged by the Pussy Riot feminist punk band. The charge she was jailed on last summer was hooliganism motivated by religious hatred.

Unsourced speculation had swirled among Russian bloggers that the activist had died at some point over the past few weeks.


Material from The Moscow Times was included in this report.

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