Nadezhda Tolokonnikova in a solitary cell during a visit from Presidential Human Rights Council officials© AFP 2013/ Ilya Shablinsky
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MOSCOW, October 1 (RIA Novosti) – A jailed member of feminist punk band Pussy Riot ended her nine-day-long hunger strike Tuesday, a Russian opposition lawmaker and prison authorities said in separate statements.
Nadezhda Tolokonnikova gave up the strike because of unspecified health problems, Ilya Ponomaryov, a member of A Just Russia party’s faction in the State Duma, the lower house of the Russian parliament, said on Twitter.
The 23-year-old went on hunger strike on September 23 in protest at the conditions of her custody and alleged threats from prison administration officials. She was transferred to a prison hospital due after her health began deteriorating Friday.
Ponomaryov did not elaborate on Tolokonnikova’s current condition and could not immediately be reached for comment by telephone or Twitter.
Tolokonnikova is in a stable condition and eating diet food, the Federal Prison Service’s branch in the Republic of Mordovia, in the Volga federal district, said in a statement.
Ponomaryov tweeted earlier that Tolokonnikova had been placed on a drip.
Her supporters said Monday that she was cut off from the world after being hospitalized and that relatives and lawyers had been denied contact.
Rights ombudsman Vladimir Lukin was cited by Russian media as saying that Tolokonnikova ended her hunger strike after prison authorities promised to transfer her to another penal colony.
The Federal Prison Service could not be reached for comment on Tolokonnikova’s current whereabouts.
Tolokonnikova and two other Pussy Riot members received a two-year jail sentence in August 2012 after being found guilty of hooliganism for performing a raucous protest song at Mosow's Christ the Savior Cathedral against the imminent re-election of Vladimir Putin as president earlier that year.
Last week, Tolokonnikova released an open letter accusing the administration of her Mordovian prison of exploiting inmates and keeping them in inhumane conditions.
Tolokonnikova said prison officials threatened to beat her up or even kill her for speaking out. Prison officials have denied the allegations.
But the Kremlin’s human rights council, whose members examined the prison last week, confirmed the allegations of exploitation.
The council said prosecutors should determine whether prison administration officials could face criminal charges.
The human rights council also said Tolokonnikova’s hunger strike had been undertaken at the instigation of her husband and legal team.
Her lawyer has denied that charge.
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