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Nadezhda Tolokonnikova of Pussy Riot moved to new jail after scandal

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The Pussy Riot member, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova has apparently been sent to a new penal colony after family members expressed concern about her safety and her whereabouts. Pussy Riot may not have been the greatest band in history but as a catalyst and a focal point in the underbelly of Russian politics, they are proving remarkably effective.

Nadezhda Tolokonnikova caused huge waves in Russia and abroad when she managed to smuggle a letter out of her prison camp in September that excoriated the Russian penal system and exposed the inhumanity of forced labour and disgraceful conditions. She told of inmates working 17 hours a day and went on hunger strike as the fallout from the publicity surrounding her letter swirled around the Russian establishment and comparisons between the current system and Stalin’s gulags were drawn.

Then she vanished, and her husband, Pyotr Verzilov, complained that he no longer knew where she was.

Verzilov told Buzzfeed that he believed the decision to move his wife came from the authorities in Moscow: "They want to cut her off from the outside world".

He said Tolokonnikova was still weak after two hunger strikes, and said that he believed the punishment for her outspokenness had begun. He last knew where she was on 21 October, when guards put her on a train to a different prison. She was seen on 24 October by a fellow passenger as the train arrived in the city of Chelyabinsk, in the Ural mountains.

The Federal Penitentiary Service of Russia said Tolokonnikova was being sent to a new prison and that in accordance with regulations her family would be informed within 10 days of arrival.

The suspicion remains that even though her letter made her position at the prison it was written from untenable, that the authorities are trying to send a heavy handed message.

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