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Husband Of Jailed Pussy Rioter Hopes To See Her Next Week

  • RFE/RL's Russian Service

Nadezhda Tolokonnikova

Nadezhda Tolokonnikova

The husband of jailed Pussy Riot member Nadezhda Tolokonnikova says he hopes to visit his wife in her Siberian prison in Krasnoyarsk next week.

Pyotr Verzilov told RFE/RL that he was able to talk to Tolokonnikova on the telephone on November 14 for the first time in more than three weeks, since she went missing while being transferred.

"She feels more or less well, she told me yesterday on the phone. It was the first phone call allowed in 26 days, ending this lengthy, almost monthlong isolation that started in Mordovia and then continued throughout her lengthy transit, which spanned 4,000 kilometers across the whole of Russia,"Verzilov said.

Verzilov, who is himself in Krasnoyarsk, also managed to have a video conversation with his wife on November 15.

WATCH THE INTERVIEW WITH PYOTR VERZILOV (IN RUSSIAN)

He said doctors are currently checking his wife's health in Tuberculosis Hospital No. 1 of the local penitentiary system. But he noted that Tolokonnikova does not have tuberculosis.

"She thinks the conditions of this hospital are fairly good. She is surprised by how different it is here compared to Mordovia and other prison facilities she has encountered since her stay in the Moscow detention center. She is in a good mood now," Verzilov said.

Medical Facility

According to Verzilov, there is a chance that his wife might spend the remainder of her two-year sentence in the medical facility.

A local official the Russian state agency supervising penitentiaries, Aleksandr Nazarov, confirmed on November 15 that Tolokonnikova might be allowed to remain in the hospital until the end of her prison term in March.

Tolokonnikova was transferred to Krasnoyarsk after going on a hunger strike to protest conditions and alleged death threats by officials at a prison colony in Russia's Republic of Mordovia.

Tolokonnikova and fellow Pussy Riot member Maria Alyokhina are serving two-year prison sentences after being convicted of hooliganism motivated by religious hatred.

They, along with a third member of the punk group, Yekaterina Samutsevich, were arrested in March 2012 after performing what they called a "punk prayer" against Russian President Vladimir Putin at Christ the Savior Cathedral in Moscow in February.

Samutsevich was also convicted and received a suspended two-year sentence.

The sentences were condemned by Western governments and rights groups as disproportionate.

With reporting by Interfax and ITAR-TASS
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