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Jailed Pussy Riot protester goes on hunger strike

23 September 2013

Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, of Russian group Pussy Riot, is on hunger strike in protest at "slavery-like" jail conditions. In an open letter, published today (23 September) on the Guardian website, she described fellow prisoners collapsing from the conditions.

Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and two other members of Pussy Riot were jailed a year ago for “hooliganism motivated by religious hatred” after singing a protest song in a Moscow cathedral. An international campaign has called for their release and the International Federation of Actors (FIA) has written to the Prosecutor General of the Russian Federation expressing "profound indignation" at the imprisonment of Nadezhda Tolokonnikova (pictured left), Maria Alyokhina and Yekaterina Samutsevich of the group Pussy Riot. They face two years in jail for “hooliganism motivated by religious hatred” after singing a protest song in a Moscow cathedral.

FIA Secretary General Dominick Luquer wrote: "This prison sentence has been universally condemned as a disproportionate response to an artistic protest and expression of political belief. It has served to cast serious doubts over the fairness and transparency of Russia’s legal and political system.

"The sentence is in flagrant violation of Article19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Article 10 of the European Convention on the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, to both of which Russia is a party. It is further in violation of the 1980 UNESCO Recommendation on the Status of the Artist.

"FIA wholeheartedly condemns such grave attacks on freedom of expression in general and on freedom of artistic expression in particular. FIA adds its voice to the many already calling for the reversal of this unjust sentence and we call on our membership to take up the cause of Pussy Riot with the authorities at national and international level. We call for the immediate release of the three artists concerned."

You can download the full text of the FIA letter from this web site: www.equity.org.uk/documents/fia-letter-of-protest-about-pussy-riot/

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