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Investigative Committee finds no proof of threats to jailed Pussy Riot member

October 24, 2013, 16:14 UTC+3

Tolokonnikova had complained that the deputy prison chief had threatened her with murder

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Photo ITAR-TASS/Stanislav Krasilnikov

Photo ITAR-TASS/Stanislav Krasilnikov

MOSCOW, October 24 (Itar-Tass) - The department of the Investigative Committee for Mordovia said it has found no proof to the claims by Pussy Riot activist Nadezhda Tolokonnikova that she has been threatened with murder and that no criminal proceedings will be instituted.

"After a check, the Investigative Committee department issued a resolution refusing to open a criminal case," Natalia Afanasyeva, senior aide to the department's director, told Itar-Tass.

Tolokonnikova had complained that the deputy prison chief had threatened her with murder. The alleged murder threat prompted her to announce a hunger strike on September 23.

Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Pussy Riot member currently serving time in a penal colony, has complained about threat to her life, reportedly due to refusal to transfer her to another detachment.  

A representative of the Mordovia office of the Federal Penitentiary Service told Itar-Tass that September 17 Yuri Kupriyanov, deputy head of the penitentiary colony, was approached by Tolokonnikova’s husband Petr Verzilov and her attorney Irina Khrunova when the official was leaving the colony.

“During the conversation they asked for Tolokonnikova to be transferred to another detachment in order to be employed at an arts studio. Otherwise the Investigative Committee, Prosecutor General’s Office, Federal Penitentiary Service and the media will receive claims that Kupriyanov threatens Tolokonnikova with bodily harm and murder,” the Service said, adding that deputy head of the colony was shown these claims.

Deputy head of the colony, responsible for security and operative work, said that employment issues of inmates is not something he controls – the decision to transfer someone is made by a special commission. Kupriyanov refused to give in to the demands and filed a report on solicitation to commit official power abuse (by creation of favorable conditions to Tolokonnikova).

September 25, Tolokonnikova's lawyers addressed the Prosecutor General’s Office demanding to make a comprehensive enquiry in Mordovia’s penal colony #14 concerning women’s rights violation.

Ilya Shablinskiy, member of the presidential human rights council claims that information conveyed by Nadezhda Tolokonnikova regarding violation of human rights in her colony is, in fact, well-grounded.

“I’ve already talked with several inmates, made my hair stand on end, “ he told Itar-Tass. A group of Human Rights Council members are to conduct inspection of the colony housing the Pussy Riot member on September 25.

Details from convicted Pussy Riot member Nadezhda Tolokonnikova about human rights violations in the colony have been partly confirmed.

As follows from the report on the visit to the penal colony #14 (PC-14), where Tolokonnikova is serving her sentence, a member of the Presidential Council for Civil Society Institutions and Human Rights (HRC) Ilya Shablinski confirmed data on overworking at the garments manufacture. “Evidence on overwork of 4 or 6 hours has been confirmed by the testimony of several inmates. Data on working three Sundays a month has been confirmed by testimony of convicts and colony’s administration," the document says.

October 1, Tolokonnikova stopped striking, but October 18 she resumed her hunger strike after she was transferred from hospital back to the penal colony, where she is serving her sentence. In the same day, The Federal Penitentiary Service press service told Itar-Tass that “due to the request submitted by the convict Nadezhda Tolokonnikova with the Penitentiary Service regarding ensuring her personal safety, the Service administration decided to transfer her from the Penal Colony 14 to another penitentiary facility.”

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