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HRC inspectors unanimously criticize conditions at Tolokonnikova's colony

October 01, 2013, 15:22 UTC+3

Convicted Pussy Riot member continues hunger strike, according to member of the Human Rights Council Pavel Chikov

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MOSCOW, October 1 (Itar-Tass) - All the members of the Presidential Council for Human Rights, who visited Nadezhda Tolokonnikova imprisoned in a colony in Mordovia, have unanimously confirmed that the prisoners' rights were violated, said Pavel Chikov - a member of the Council and an activist of the Agora Human Rights Association which supports Pussy Riot.

All the members of the working group of the Council, who visited the colony, have confirmed the facts mentioned by Tolokonnikova in her complaint - work for almost 12- 16 hours long for the inmates and a miserable sum worth a thousand rubles (around $30) every inmate is paid from time to time.

The inspection has also confirmed that the inmates protesting against prison rules are put under pressure by their fellow inmates belonging to the so-called " section of discipline and order" loyal to the prison administration, which is absolutely banned by the law, Pavel Chikov said. "Therefore, I think that the Council working group who visited the colony has absolutely fulfilled its task," Chikov added.

"The Council members have disagreed in their judgment of the purpose of Tolokonnikova's protest act. Three of them (Elena Masyuk, Maria Kannabikh and Yevgeny Myslovsky) think that Tolokonnikova's hunger strike had been orchestrated from the outside, but Ilya Shablonsky does not think so," Chikov said.

He denied having conflicting interests in the matter although he is both a member of the Presidential Council and the Agora Association, established in 2005 in support of opposition activists. Pussy Riot is one of such activists which enjoy the Agora’s support."Membership in the Agora Association is no obstacle to the main activity in the Presidential Human Rights Council," Chikov explained.

"Although Nadezhda Tolokonnikava put into a prison hospital cannot still be reached, as far as I know she is continuing the hunger strike," Chikov said. 

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