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Jailed Pussy Riot member starts hunger strike against Russia prison 'slave labour'

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Jailed Pussy Riot member starts hunger strike against Russia prison 'slave labour'

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Jailed member of Russia’s Pussy Riot punk band Nadezhda Tolokonnikova has started a hunger strike in protest at what she described as ‘slave labour’ in her prison.

In a letter to her husband she said inmates at the penal colony were forced to work up to 17 hours a day sewing police uniforms.

She also accused a senior prison official of sending her a death threat.

Husband Peter Verzilov published the letter on the internet.

“Before this situation unfolded in the last several weeks, Nadia tried to change the situation internally, from inside the prison. But obviously she understood that this was impossible and at the end of her efforts, they just led to a murder threat from the prison administration,” Verzilov told journalists.

Tolokonnikova was sentenced to two years in jail in August 2012 after performing what the band called a ‘punk prayer’ in a Moscow cathedral in protest against the rule of President Vladimir Putin.

She is due for release in March, as is fellow band member, Maria Alyokhina. A third band member had her sentence suspended.