press release

Löning condemns prison conditions of Pussy Riot singer Nadezhda Tolokonnikova


Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights Markus Löning issued the following statement today (27 September) concerning the conditions in which Pussy Riot singer Nadezhda Tolokonnikova is being held:

“I was appalled by Ms Tolokonnikova’s description of the conditions in her prison camp. I am glad that a delegation from the Russian Council on Human Rights is there to gain a first-hand impression of the situation.

I appeal to the Russian leadership to ensure that conditions in Russian prisons and penal colonies are humane. As a member of the Council of Europe, Russia is obliged to implement minimum standards and ensure that they are observed.”

Since Monday, 23 September the singer Nadezhda Tolokonnikova has been on hunger strike to protest against the conditions in her prison camp. She was subsequently placed in solitary confinement. In August 2012 she was sentenced to two years in a prison camp, together with the singer Maria Alyokhina. A third singer (Yekaterina Samutsevich) was released on probation. On 21 February 2012 the members of the Russian all‑women punk band Pussy Riot performed a “punk prayer” entitled “Virgin Mary, redeem us of Putin” in a Moscow cathedral. Their prompt detention pending trial and the subsequent criminal proceedings sparked international protests. Federal Government representatives criticised the period in custody and the sentence as disproportionate.

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