Maria Alekhina writes letter to rights defenders and prisoners

posted 10 Dec 2013, 13:19 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 10 Dec 2013, 13:22 ]
9 December 2013

Source: (info)
Maria Alekhina, the imprisoned member of the punk group Pussy Riot, has requested released prisoners in her penal colony in Nizhny Novgorod region to inform rights defenders about violations of their rights.

Alekhina sent her message to At the same time, the political prisoner asked for the help of rights defenders in taking evidence from former prisoners. Alekhina's request calls for information on any kind of violation of prisoners' rights, including non-payment of wages and lack of access to medical care.

“I appeal to the women who have already been released. You are not under threat now, yet to give evidence here would mean to end up in hell until your sentence finishes,” says Alekhina. According to Alekhina, everyone who was friendly to her came under pressure after the publication of her article about conditions in the Nizhny Novgorod region colony No. 2 appeared in The New Times.

In her article, Alekhina paid particular attention to the unsanitary conditions in which prisoners are kept. She also complained about the violation of the technical safety regime in the sewing workshop, the absence of any ventilation there, as well as the incorrect accounting of time worked.

Although Alekhina had been serving her sentence in the Perm region, in August 2013 she was transferred to the penal colony in Nizhny Novogord region. The transfer was related to the regular conflicts that arose between Alekhina and the prison administration. Moreover, it was suggested that a certain section of the Perm colony's prisoners were hostile to Alekhina.

Together with other members of Pussy Riot Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Ekaterina Samutsevich, Alekhina was sentenced to serve two years in a penal colony in 2012. The court considered their 'punk-prayer' in the Church of Christ the Saviour to be hooliganism, although Alekhina, Tolokonnikova and Samutsevich and their defence insisted that they did not intend to disturb the peace, nor express disrespect to society. Samutsevich's punishment was eventually changed to a conditional sentence. Alekhina and Tolokonnikova will finish their sentences in March 2014.

Translated by Thomas Rowley