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Pussy Riot Member Turns Up in Siberian Prison

The jailed musician-activist hadn't been heard from in weeks

Nadezhda Tolokonnikova of Pussy Riot.
MAKSIM BLINOV/AFP/Getty Images
November 13, 2013 3:50 PM ET

After weeks of uncertainty about her whereabouts following a hunger strike and subsequent prison transfer, Pussy Riot member Nadezhda Tolokonnikova has turned up at a penal colony in the Krasnoyarsk region of Siberia.

Russia's prison ombudsman, Vladimir Lukin, confirmed that Tolokonnikova has been transferred to Siberia and offered a reason she hadn't been heard from, The Associated Press reports. "After a transfer to another prison, inmates are quarantined for 10 days," Lukin said through wire service ITAR-TASS.

Paul McCartney, U2, Bruce Springsteen Join Call for Pussy Riot's Release

He also noes that Tolokonnikova had finally ended her hunger strike, which originally began in September. Tolokonnikova was protesting  bleak working conditions of her then-prison, Penal Colony 14 in the republic of Mordovia, where she claims prisoners were forced to work 16 hours a day. Due to health complications (which reportedly approached "unrecoverable damage"), she suspended the strike, though she started it again after demanding the transfer. The 23-year-old musician-activist is currently serving a two-year sentence on charges of "premeditated hooliganism," which stem from Pussy Riot's infamous "punk-prayer" protest at Moscow's Cathedral of Christ the Savior in February of 2012.

While Lukin notes that Tolokonnikova will be meeting with both her husband and lawyers within the week, he didn't mention the specific location of the prison. But the Russian art group Viona tweeted that the Pussy Riot member is being held at Penal Colony 50 in Nizhny Ingash – a statement that prison management would not confirm.

Tolokonnikova's father, Andrei Tolokonnikova, told Buzzfeed earlier this month that he and her husband have been unaware of her location since October 21st, when she was transferred from the Mordovia prison. "No one knows anything," he said. "There’s no proof she’s alive; we don’t know the state of her health. Is she sick? Has she been beaten?"

Petya Verzilov, Tolokonnikova's husband, said his wife was last seen on October 24th by a train passenger in the city of Chelyabinsk. "They want to cut her off from the outside world," he said.

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