PEN International is extremely concerned for the well-being of imprisoned Pussy Riot member Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, whose current whereabouts have not been disclosed by the Russian authorities. On 22 October 2013, she was moved from a penal colony where she was serving a two-year prison sentence and it is believed that she is in transit to - or has already arrived at - an (as yet) unknown prison.
Neither her husband nor her lawyer has had any contact with her for three weeks. Tolokonnikova's husband has said that an official in the prison administration informed him of a possible move to a prison colony in Siberia, but this has not been confirmed officially.
Russia's refusal to disclose Tolokonnikova's whereabouts is a direction violation of the UN's Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners which state that prisoners should be allowed regular communication with family and friends and that family members must be notified when a prisoner is transferred from one prison to another.
- Write to President Vladimir Putin and to the Justice Minister Alexander Konovalov demanding that Nadezhda Tolokonnikova's husband and family be informed of her whereabouts; tell them that Russia is violating the UN's rules on prisoners.
- Tweet President Putin directly, asking him to reveal Tolokonnikova's location. Use the Twitter hashtag: #WhereIsNadezhdaTolokonnikova?
On 17 August 2012, Tolokonnikova and two other Pussy Riot band mates (Mariya Alekhina and Yekaterina Samutsevich) were convicted on charges of 'hooliganism motivated by religious hatred' following the band's performance of a 'punk prayer' at the Christ the Saviour Cathedral in Moscow in February 2012. Each woman received a two-year prison sentence (although Samutsevich's sentence was later suspended).
PEN has campaigned for the imprisoned members of Pussy Riot to be released since their arrest in 2012.
In September 2013, at the 79th PEN World Congress in Reykjavik, we called for their release in our Resolution on the Russian Federation; we also raised their case directly with the Russian ambassador to Iceland.
We also demanded their release in a letter from PEN's International president, John Ralston Saul, to President Vladimir Putin of the Russian Federation on the one-year anniversary of the Pussy Riot convictions/
Pussy Riot also featured as part of our G20 Russian Action in September 2013.
President Vladimir Putin,
23, Ilyinka Street
(don't forget to copy in PEN International @pen_int )
Minister of Justice of the Russian Federation
14, Ilyinka Street,
Please keep PEN International informed of any action your centre takes and let us know of any responses you receive.
Thank you in advance for your action on this very important issue.
For further details contact Cathal Sheerin at the Writers in Prison Committee London Office:
PEN International, Brownlow House, 50/51 High Holborn, London WC1V 6ER UK Tel: + 44 (0) 20 7405 0338
Fax: + 44 (0) 20 7405 0339
Researcher & Campaigner, Europe Programme
Writers in Prison Committee
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Tel: +44 (0) 20 7405 0338
Fax: +44 (0) 20 7405 0339