Russia Jails Greenpeace Activists After Arctic Drilling Protest Results In Piracy Charges

Verzilov said the acting head of the prison had described Tolokonnikova’s condition as “horrible” but had given no further details. He also said prison officials would not show him documents about her transfer to hospital or allow her lawyers to visit. The administration of the prison could not immediately be reached for comment, and prison service employees in the remote Mordovia region declined to comment. Tolokonnikova, 23, announced on Monday that she was starting a hunger strike to protest against “slave labor” at Corrective Colony No. 14, where she is serving her sentence, and that she had received a death threat from a senior prison official. She said inmates were forced to work up to 17 hours a day, deprived of sleep and subjected to collective punishment and violence from senior inmates enforcing order in a system reminiscent of the Soviet-era Gulag forced labor camps. Prison authorities dismissed her accusations that the jail is run in violation of Russian law and human rights standards. ABUSE CLAIM Earlier on Friday, Verzilov gave out a statement from Tolokonnikova in which she said prison guards had taken drinking water away from her isolation cell and one had roughly grabbed her and held her in place by her shoulders. The Mordovia branch of the prison service said the drinking water had been replaced by warm boiled water in accordance with doctor’s orders and that Tolokonnikova had refused to let medics check her body for bruises. Tolokonnikova and two other band members were convicted of hooliganism motivated by religious hatred for a February 2012 protest in which they burst into Christ the Saviour Cathedral and prayed to the Virgin Mary to rid Russia of Putin. Kremlin critics say their trial was part of a crackdown on dissent since Putin started a third term at the Kremlin in May 2012. Pussy Riot and other Kremlin critics accuse Putin of fostering too close ties with the resurgent Russian Orthodox Church and discriminating against sexual minorities as part of the wider crackdown.

Greenpeace activists hang an inflatable whale off the top of Berlin’s television tower, Jun. 15, 2003, in a protest action ahead of the annual meeting of the International Whaling Commission due to take place from June 16-19 in Berlin. The banner reads “IWC: Act now!”. Police and fire officials use the jaws of life in an attempt to cut free a group of Greenpeace activists who chained themselves to the entrance of the Auckland Airport incinerator to protest the emissions of deadly dioxins, Apr. 29, 2003. German riot police watch over some 150 anti-nuclear demonstrators blocking railway tracks near Rohstorf, Nov. 11, 2003, in a bid to stop a train transporting radioactive waste material to a storage facility in Gorleben. The 12 containers are coming from the French nuclear treating facility of La Hague. Militants of the French anti-nuclear network Sortir du Nucleaire (Exit Nuclear) demonstrate on a Brittany beach, July 18, 2004 in Carnac, against the European Pressurized Water Reactor (EPR) project. Five Greenpeace activists climb the rocks above the Mirabeau Tunnel to protest the transport of weapons-grade plutonium, which will travel through the tunnel on its way to Cadarache north of Marseille, Oct. 7, 2004. A lorry carrying a shipment of plutonium from U.S. weapons arsenals was being escorted through France en route to a reprocessing plant in the southwestern town of Cadarache. A Greenpeace activist remains attached to the anchor chain of cargo ship Global Wind, May 3, 2004, anchored offshore 40 kms from the port of Paranagua, southern Brazil.