Jailed Pussy Riot band member has gone missing, family says

Jailed Pussy Riot band member has gone missing, family says

A jailed member of Russian punk band Pussy Riot has gone missing in the country’s prison system, her family says.

Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, known commonly as Nadya, was scheduled to be transferred from a prison in the Republic of Mordovia on Oct. 21, after embarking on a hunger strike to protest conditions there. But she has not been heard from since, her family said, nor has any information been forthcoming from government officials.

“There’s no proof she’s alive,” Andrei Tolokonnikov, Nadya’s father, told the website Buzzfeed. “We don’t know the state of her health. Is she sick? Has she been beaten?”

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Nadya’s husband, Petya Verzilov, told Buzzfeed that he believed she may have been moved to a jail in a big city to discourage anti-government rallies; the Mordovia location had become a magnet for protesters.

Nadya was last seen by a witness in the mountain city of Chelyabinsk on Oct. 24, Verzilov said, where he believes she was transferred temporarily. Russian law requires that families be notified of an inmate's new whereabouts within 10 days of the move.

Nadya, 23, was a key member of the group that was arrested after playing a provocative punk song in a Russian cathedral in 2012. The band said it wanted to call attention to censorship in the country, but members were charged and eventually convicted with “hooliganism motivated by racial hatred.” One member had her conviction overturned, but Nadya and another bandmate, Maria Alyokhina, are serving a two-year sentence that is set to end in March.

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Pussy Riot’s arrest and subsequent trial became cause célèbre for musicians such as Madonna and other entertainers around the world, shining a light on censorship in the administration of President Vladimir Putin. It also became the subject of the documentary “Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer,” which aired on HBO earlier this year.

The news of Nadya’s disappearance comes at Russia is facing criticism over an anti-gay law that could also lead to protests and boycotts at the upcoming Sochi Winter Olympics.

Read More: Article Source

Breakingnews
02 November 2013 Saturday 23:09
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