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Jailed Pussy Riot member’s defense turns to Chamber of Lawyers for protection of their rights

October 09, 2013, 2:38 UTC+3
On September 23, Tolokonnikova went on a hunger strike, saying that she had received death threats
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Photo EPA/ITAR-TASS

Photo EPA/ITAR-TASS

MOSCOW, October 9 (Itar-Tass) - The lawyers of Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, convicted member of the Pussy Riot punk group, addressed Yevgenia Semenyaka, head of the Federal Chamber of Lawyers of the Russian Federation, requesting protection of their rights, a source in the Agora interregional human rights association, representing Tolokonnikova’s interests, told on Tuesday Itar-Tass.

The lawyers informed Semenyaka of having been denied visits to Tolokonnikova since September 30 by the chief of medical prophylactic institution no 21 of the Department of Russia’s Federal Penitentiary Service for Mordovia. The state of Tolokonnikova’s health is mentioned as the reason. The lawyers find such reasoning dubious.

They note that State Duma deputy Ilya Ponomaryov was permitted to visit Tolokonnikova on October 1. So visits to Tolokonnikova are possible, and the reference to the state of her health is unfounded, the lawyers stressed.

On September 23, Tolokonnikova went on a hunger strike, saying that she had received death threats. On September 29, she was placed in the medical ward, as she complained of spine aches, and was later transferred to the medical prophylactic institution. There she ended her hunger strike and began to take dietetic foods. Her health is stable; planned medical and diagnostic measures are taken, the Federal Penitentiary Service reports.

On the basis of Tolokonnikova’s statement about death threats she had received, the Investigative Committee of Russia began checks. Human rights supporters started their check, too.

On August 17, 2012, Moscow’s Khamovnichesky court found members of the Pussy Riot punk group - Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Maria Alekhina and Yekaterina Samutsevich - guilty of hooliganism out of religious hate, having staged a scandalous “punk prayer” in the Cathedral of Christ the Savior. Each of them was sentenced to two years of the deprivation of freedom in a colony with a general regime. On October 10, the Moscow City Court commuted the sentence to Samutsevich, putting her on probation. The sentences of two other members of the punk group were left unchanged.

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