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Freed Pussy Riot Punk: Russia Built Like a Prison Camp

Freed Pussy Riot Punk: Russia Built Like a Prison Camp

Pussy Riot member Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, who was freed Monday in a Kremlin-backed amnesty, slammed Russia’s prison system and said that the whole country is built like a penal colony.

She said she and released bandmate Maria Alyokhina will be working on a project focusing on rights of prisoners, using experience of spending a year and ten months in prison.

Addressing journalists, she said her views have not changed since she was arrested for performing a “punk prayer” in Moscow’s Cathedral of Christ the Saviour protesting Vladimir Putin’s re-election campaign.

Tolokonnikova spent the majority of her sentence in Mordovia, and in September exposed a litany of abuses in the colony in a public letter.

She said convicts were treated as slave labour, fed rotten food and refused basic facilities or medical care. She declared a hunger strike and was eventually transferred to a different region.

Tolokonnikova said she plans to meet with Alyokhina as soon as possible. “We have a plan to create a human rights organisation that would help political prisoners,” she said.

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