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Pussy Riot member compares conditions of penitentiary colony with those at the Soviet correctional labour camp

September 24, 2013, 12:13 UTC+3

Female convicts cannot take a shower for 2-3 weeks, letter says

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Member of the punk band Pussy Riot Nadezhda Tolokonnikova went on a hunger strike, demanding to transfer her to another penitentiary and open a criminal case against the directorate of the penitentiary number 14 in the Russian Republic of Mordovia, Central Russia, for unbearable labour conditions and humiliation of the convicts, the RBC daily reported. Tolokonnikova described the conditions of keeping at the prison and the unwritten rules reigning there in a letter, which she passed to a Russian news agency through her husband Pyotr Verzilov.

“Such sanitary conditions are provided at the penitentiary that a convict is feeling herself as a dirty beast deprived of all rights,” the letter reads. Tolokonnikova demanded she should be transferred in another penitentiary and a criminal case should be opened against the directorate of the penitentiary number 14 over the threats against her and a refined system of humiliation against the convicts, who are forced to work 16-17 hours a day with enormous daily standards of making police uniform almost without any days-off.

Only one shower room for five female inmates of the prison is open for 800 prisoners of the penitentiary, so the female convicts cannot take a shower for 2-3 weeks. “The laundry is a little room with three taps, from which the cold water is running thin,” the Moskovsky Komsomolets daily quoted the letter of the convict as saying.

Komsomolskaya Pravda daily noted that the directorate of the prison does not take any measures to improve the situation, Tolokonnikova said. Meanwhile, in the words of the Pussy Riot member, numerous threats to kill her are coming to her. “Therefore, starting from September 23 I go on a hunger strike and refuse to participate in the slave labour at the penitentiary as long as the directorate of the penitentiary begins to fulfil the laws and take the female convicts as people, but not as beasts cast beyond the legal field for the needs of clothes making,” Nadezhda Tolokonnikova said in the statement.

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