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Pussy Riot Speak About Jail Conditions In Leaked Videos

The Pussy Riot activists were convicted in August.
The Pussy Riot activists were convicted in August.
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With their court appeal coming up this week, videos have been leaked showing Pussy Riot members Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina talking about their prison conditions from their jail cells.

Obtained by the liberal "New Times" magazine, the videos separately show Tolokonnikova and Alyokhina, who have been in a Moscow detention center since March, talking to an unknown interviewer. Tolokonnikova has said she was not aware that she was being filmed.
 
The interviewer asks Tolokonnikova if she is aware of the thieves' code of "don't trust, don't be afraid, and don't ask," and whether she is afraid that she broke that law. Tolokonnikova answers that she isn't aware of and doesn't follow such a law.
 
Appearing relaxed and unflustered, Tolokonnikova says that she has not complained about the prison conditions, is happy to do manual work, sleeps well, and has enough food. When asked whether she would like more reading material, she replied that she did not want to be distracted from her "work."

WATCH: Nadezhda Tolokonnikova speaks from jail


In August, three female members of Pussy Riot, including Tolokonnikova and Alyokhina, were convicted of hooliganism after performing a song critical of Putin and of the Russian Orthodox Church at Moscow's largest cathedral in February. They all received two years in prison.
 
The videos are hard to make out in places and have been heavily edited. Some of the questions appear as if they could be attempts to provoke the activists into saying something damaging before their appeal. Tolokonnikova is asked, for example, about the LennonOno prize that Pussy Riot won in the United States.
 
But if it was a sting attempt ahead of the October 10 appeal, it wasn't a very good one. When questioned, Alyokhina says that the opposition doesn't want to provoke any confrontation. The interviewer tries to present her as cooperating with the prison authorities against her fellow prisoners, but she brushes away the questions, saying that she doesn't want to cooperate with anyone.
 
The Federal Penitentiary Service is reportedly investigating the video leak. Under Russian law, the use of recording devices in prisons is prohibited.

WATCH: Maria Alyokhina speaks from jail


A "New Times" editorial was unclear about the provenance of the video. According to the editorial, a "New Times" correspondent, while visiting Pussy Riot members in prison, observed prison officials filming while Pussy Riot members spoke to representatives of the Public Oversight Commission (ONK), a federal prisoner rights' monitoring body. It is unclear if the leaked video is from this session, however.

According to "New Times," ONK members complained that the filming was not allowed without the inmates' permission, but they were ignored by prison authorities.
 
Through her lawyer, Tolokonnikova has complained about the footage, saying it was "unethical" and that she is "appalled" by the publication of video material recorded in her prison cell "without my knowledge."
 
Speaking on his 60th birthday on October 7 in an NTV documentary aired in his honor, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that the three members of Pussy Riot "got what they asked for."
 
"It was right that they were arrested, and the court's decision was right," he added.
 
"My first reaction was that they should ask believers for forgiveness and that would have been that," Putin said. "But they kept building it up, and so the whole case ended in the court slapping them with two-year jail terms. So there you have it. I have nothing to do with this."
 
Rights activists are concerned that Putin's comments might have some bearing on this week's appeal.

-- Luke Allnutt
This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Eugenio from: Vienna
October 10, 2012 19:05
I already see a good piece of advice coming from Andrew from Auckland and from Ilya: send her to Guantanamo - she will enjoy this US torture-camp much more than stay in any Russian prison :-)).

by: Eugenio from: Vienna
October 10, 2012 19:38
VIDEO: Moscow Anger: 'Russian police rhetoric reminds of military dictatorship' - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2OeWVEeVifA&feature=BFa&list=UUpwvZwUam-URkxB7g4USKpg

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Written by RFE/RL editors and correspondents, Transmission serves up news, comment, and the odd silly dictator story. While our primary concern is with foreign policy, Transmission is also a place for the ideas -- some serious, some irreverent -- that bubble up from our bureaus. The name recognizes RFE/RL's role as a surrogate broadcaster to places without free media. You can write us at transmission+rferl.org

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