Pussy Riot Member Granted Prison Transfer

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Pussy Riot Member Granted Prison Transfer
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Pussy Riot Member Granted Prison Transfer

Jailed Pussy Riot member Nadezhda Tolokonnikova will be moved to another penal colony, following a nine-day hunger strike protesting abuses at her current prison, according to The Associated Press. Russia's Federal Penitentiary Service released a statement today claiming it will meet Tolokonnikova's demands for a transfer "for her personal safety."

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The 23-year-old is currently serving a two-year sentence in the Mordovia region of Russia on charges of "premeditated hooliganism" stemming from the band's "punk-prayer" protest at Moscow's Cathedral of Christ the Savior in February 2012. Last month, Tolokonnikova claimed prison officials had threatened her for protesting poor working conditions and accusations of them treating prisoners like slaves. Three weeks ago, she declared a hunger strike and released an open letter about her treatment in the camp, both of which attracted picketers to station themselves outside her prison camp. She ended her strike after it came close to damaging her health permanently. It was the heaviest scrutiny focused on the Mordovian prison complex, one of the largest in Europe, in decades.

Tolokonnikova's husband, Peter Verzilov, recently told Rolling Stone that Tolokonnikova will be launching a non-governmental organization to fight for prison reform and prisoners' rights in the region. "Nothing of this sort exists in this region," Verzilov said. "This will be Nadya’s main legacy from this whole situation."

He described the organization, which will be named "Mordovlag" ("Mordovia Camp" in abbreviated Russian), as a "Mordovian prison control NGO" that will employ lawyers and activists to inspect prisons, visit prisoners and assist in legal appeals and procedural issues. Tolokonnikova will serve as the public face of the NGO, writing texts for the public to read.

Prior to today's announcement, her protests began paying off. Last week, the Federal Penitentiary Service said it was making changes: prisoners would earn more and labor fewer hours.

This article originally appeared on Rolling Stone: Pussy Riot Member Granted Prison Transfer
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