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Pussy Riot Member Hospitalized, Sparking Poisoning Fears

Anton Novoderzhkin / TASS

An anti-Kremlin activist from the Pussy Riot performance band has been hospitalized under unclear circumstances, according to his colleagues, some of whom have suggested he may have been poisoned.

Pussy Riot gained prominence after being jailed for staging a protest in a Moscow church in 2012 and being whipped in public at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics. Their latest protest included storming a football pitch during the final in Moscow of the 2018 World Cup, for which four activists received 15-day jail sentences.

News of Pyotr Verzilov’s placement in emergency care appeared late on Wednesday. Fellow Pussy Riot member Veronika Nikulshina told the Meduza news website that he began losing his eyesight and ability to speak on Tuesday.

“We think that he was poisoned,” Pussy Riot tweeted.

Hospital staff told the state-run RIA Novosti news agency on Thursday that further action would be taken after a check-up by the chief doctor. Verzilov’s colleague at the Mediazona news website, chief editor Sergei Smirnov, urged caution before “jumping to conclusions.”

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