Pussy Riot member gets death threats in Russian jail

One of two jailed members of the Russian feminist punk group has discussed the harsh conditions of where she is serving her prison sentence

Pussy Riot member gets death threats in Russian jail
23 January 2013

One of the two jailed members of Russian political opposition group Pussy Riot has said she is in solitary confinement after receiving death threats from other prisoners.

Maria Alyokhina, who with Nadezhda Tolokonnikova was imprisoned for performing a pro-gay, anti-Vladimir Putin song in a Moscow cathedral for two years, has revealed the harsh conditions where she is serving her sentence.

A third member of the group was also sentenced but released on appeal.

Speaking to an opposition newspaper, she said ‘the essence’ of the threats was ‘if you remain in this unit you are dead’, Yahoo.com reported.

Imprisoned at Corrective Labour Colony No 28 in the Perm Region, Alyokhina said she was ‘the only one who went to rights activists, representatives of [Russia’s] Public Monitoring Commissions’ watchdogs.

The feminist attempted to stand up for prisoners’ rights, revealing their boots and head scarves were not warm enough to withstand Russia’s minus 30 degrees celsius temperatures.

But other prisoners were offended by this and threatened Alyokhina, causing her to be moved into solitary confinement.

Fellow prisoner Nonna Ivanova said: ‘There’s a lot of people here, and everyone’s against her, everyone.’ She added: ‘They can do something to her.’

The Pussy Riot protester also railed against the ‘slave mentality’ developed by prisoners.

‘Rudeness, cowardice, treachery and denunciations, this is the norm’, she said, adding ‘people fall into line’.

Alyokhina remained defiant, saying the violent threats would not defeat her or keep her quiet.

‘I will overcome everything, nothing will happen to me. If they put pressure on me, I will declare a hunger strike and will be thrown into a punishment cell’, she said.

When the three members of Pussy Riot were arrested last year for being the masked singers in the video, it caused an international outrage.

Stars such as Madonna voiced their support for the band, while Amnesty International condemned the trial as being ‘politically motivated’.

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