Pussy Riot band member Nadezhda Tolokonnikova has been moved from prison to a medical unit at the penal colony where she is on hunger strike.
The news about Nadezhda Tolokonnikova was reported on Twitter by her husband, Pyotr Verzilov.
“Nadya is now in hospital, but they’re refusing to provide documents about that, or to meet the defence [team]. A blockade has begun,” he said.
Nadezhda Tolokonnikova has complained of abuses by the prison staff in Mordovia.
Her lawyer Dmitry Dinze, quoted by Russian media, said she was very weak, with low blood pressure and low blood sugar. She began a hunger strike on Monday.
Dmitry Dinze was also quoted as saying the administrators of penal labor colony No 14, where she is serving a two-year sentence, had been summoned to Moscow. It is not yet clear what the Moscow consultation is about.
After she went on hunger strike, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova was moved to an isolation cell for her own safety, the prison authorities said.
Nadezhda Tolokonnikova has been moved from prison to a medical unit at the penal colony where she is on hunger strike
Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and another band member, Maria Alyokhina, were jailed after performing a crude protest song in a Moscow cathedral. A third band member was released on appeal.
Their act was regarded as blasphemous by many Russians, but their prosecution caused an international outcry.
Mordovia, some 275 miles east of Moscow, has labor camps dating back to the notorious Gulag system set up by Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin.
Requests by Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina for parole were rejected. Nadezhd Tolokonnikova’s release date is expected to be March 3rd, 2014.
On Thursday Nadezhda Tolokonnikova alleged that she had been left without drinking water in her cell and that a guard had grabbed her arms and shoulders. She described it as the first use of physical force against her, and urged the authorities to transfer her to a different prison.
The prison service denied her account, saying her water bottles had been replaced with warm water on doctors’ advice and physical force had not been used against her.
In a letter released to media this week, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova said she had complained that she faced threats from other inmates, and also about long hours of forced labor.
Nadezhda Tolokonnikova said female inmates were treated like “slaves”, working 17 hours a day sewing police uniforms.
If they failed to meet their quotas they were punished by being denied food, prevented from using the bathroom or made to stand outside in the cold, she wrote.
The prison service denied those allegations, saying women worked no more than eight hours a day.
President Barack Obama has pledged once again to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, amid a growing prisoner hunger strike there.
At the White House, Barack Obama said the detention centre was “contrary to who we are” and harmful to US interests.
The president cited recent convictions of terror suspects to argue the civilian justice system was adequate for such trials.
Congress has blocked efforts to close the prison, but Barack Obama said he would renew discussions with lawmakers.
Barack Obama told reporters he had asked a team of officials to review operations at Guantanamo Bay and said he was not surprised there were problems there.
“It is inefficient, it hurts us in terms of our international standing, it lessens co-operation with our allies on counter-terrorism efforts, it is a recruitment tool for extremists, it needs to be closed,” Barack Obama said.
He described the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay as a “lingering problem” that would worsen if it remained open.
“I think it is critical for us to understand that Guantanamo is not necessary to keep America safe,” the president told reporters.
Barack Obama said that with the war in Iraq over and detention authority in Afghanistan transferred to Afghan forces, the facility in Cuba was no longer necessary.
He said he would need the help of Congress to devise a long-term legal solution to the prosecution of detainees.
Barack Obama’s comments come amid a hunger strike that has spread in recent weeks to include more than 100 of the 166 inmates at the facility.
They are protesting against their indefinite detention. Most are being held without charge.
UN Human Rights Commissioner Navi Pillay has said Guantanamo Bay should be shut immediately.
Barack Obama has pledged once again to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, amid a growing prisoner hunger strike there
The UN has called the continued detention of so many people without trial a clear violation of international law, though it understands Congress has blocked Barack Obama from closing the prison.
Aid agencies are convinced the situation there cannot go on. The International Committee of the Red Cross, the only agency with access to individual detainees, says there is now an unprecedented level of desperation at Guantanamo.
On Tuesday, a UN spokesman said the force-feeding of prisoners was also a probable human rights violation.
“If it’s clearly against the will of the people who are being forcibly fed, then in a view of the World Medical Association and indeed our view, this would amount to cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment which is not permissible under international law,” said Rupert Colville, the UN spokesman on human rights.
In his remarks, Barack Obama seemed to support the US practice of force-feeding some hunger-strikers.
“I don’t want these individuals to die,” he said.
“Obviously the Pentagon is trying to manage the situation as best we can.”
The US has had to reinforce medical staff at Guantanamo Bay, with about 40 nurses and other specialists arriving at the weekend, according to a camp spokesman.
The strike began in February but spread in recent weeks to include more than 100 of the 166 people held at the facility.
Guantanamo officials deny claims that the strike began after copies of the Koran were mishandled during searches of prisoners’ cells.
A spokesman for the detention camp told Reuters news agency that 21 prisoners were being force-fed through tubes inserted through their noses, while five had been brought to hospital for observation but did not have life-threatening conditions.
Shorter hunger strikes have happened at Guantanamo since early 2002, when the US began bringing al-Qaeda and Taliban prisoners there.
Violence erupted at the prison on April 13 as the authorities moved inmates out of communal cellblocks where they had covered surveillance cameras and windows.
Some prisoners used “improvised weapons” and were met with “less-than-lethal rounds”, camp officials said, but no serious injuries were reported.
Nearly 100 of the detainees have reportedly been cleared for release but remain at the facility because of restrictions imposed by Congress as well as concerns of possible mistreatment if they are sent back to their home countries.
Senator Dianne Feinstein, the chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, wrote to National Security Council Director Tom Donilon last week asking for the administration to “renew its efforts” to transfer the cleared prisoners.
Dianne Feinstein and another committee member had earlier asked the Obama administration to temporarily halt the transfer of 56 cleared Yemeni nationals after an attempted bombing claimed by al-Qaeda in Yemen in December 2009.
Soon after his election, Barack Obama made closing Guantanamo Bay a top priority for his new administration, pledging to close it within a year of his inauguration in January 2009.
Barack Obama’s plan to transfer prisoners to maximum security prisons in the US and try some detainees in the civilian justice system met fierce resistance from lawmakers of both parties.
Clashes between prisoners and guards have erupted at Guantanamo Bay as authorities moved inmates, many of whom are on hunger strike, out of communal cellblocks.
The move came after detainees covered surveillance cameras and windows, a US Army spokesman said.
He said some prisoners used “improvised weapons” and in response “four less-than-lethal rounds” were fired.
The Pentagon says 43 prisoners are on hunger strike, but lawyers for the detainees say the number is higher.
Almost a dozen are being force-fed, according to military officials.
Clashes between prisoners and guards have erupted at Guantanamo Bay as authorities moved inmates, many of whom are on hunger strike, out of communal cellblocks
There were no “serious injuries to guards or detainees” in Saturday’s clashes, according to Capt Robert Durand of the US military’s Southern Command.
“I know for sure that one detainee was hit but the injuries were minor, just some bruises,” another spokesman, Col. Greg Julian, told the Associated Press.
Lawyers for some of the detainees condemned the camp authorities’ actions.
Carlos Warner, who represents several detainees, told AP that “the military is escalating the conflict”.
Hunger strikes have happened frequently at the US military prison, but this protest, which began in February, is reportedly one of the longest and most widespread.
However, Guantanamo officials deny claims that the strike began after copies of the Koran were mishandled during searches of prisoners’ cells.
Human rights groups and lawyers representing the prisoners say it reflects growing frustration at the US military’s failure to decide the detainees’ future.
Nearly 100 of the detainees have been reportedly cleared for release but remain at the facility because of Congressional restrictions and also concerns of possible mistreatment if they are sent back to their home countries.
The military detention centre opened in 2002 to hold suspects captured in counter-terrorism operations after the 11 September 2001 attacks in the US.