Pussy Riot Member Tolokonnikova Hospitalized after Hunger-Strike in Russia

Hunger-striking Pussy Riot member Nadezhda Tolokonnikova was moved from her penal colony to a prison hospital over the weekend. Tolokonnikova, who is striking because of the Russian prion's harsh labor conditions, had refused food for seven days by that point. According to her allegations, female prisoners work more than 16 hours a day on four hours of sleep and are punished more for appealing their conditions.

AFP is reporting that Tolokonnikova has been placed on an IV drip, and a doctor said that she agreed to receive medication. The head of her penal colony, Alexander Kulagin, said that they are "primarily humane people" and will force-feed Tolokonnikova glucose if her condition declines.

Tolokonnikova was moved to her penal colony's clinic on Friday after her health took a downward turn, before being moved to a prison-affiliated hospital Sunday. Her family and legal team say they have not been able to get in touch with her for several days. On Monday, her husband, Pyotr Verzilov, was told that she was too ill to receive any visitors. The isolation, he claims, is in retaliation for Tolokonnikova's revelations about prison conditions.

Her attorneys, meanwhile, said that they have handed over documents about the prison, including letters from Tolokonnikova, to the UN's Special Rapporteur on Contemporary forms of slavery. One of her lawyers, Dmitry Dinze, said they have also filed a request with federal prosecutors to launch an investigation into the prison's conditions.

Tolokonnikova recently wrote an open letter demanding that Mordovia, her penal colony, follow the letter of the law. "I demand that we be treated like human beings, not slaves," she wrote. In the letter, the youngest of the three Pussy Rioters convicted last summer detailed how prison authorities make inmates turn on one another, and how those who can't keep up are often attacked by fellow prisoners — with the blessing of the authorities. Complaints about lack of hot water, she said, only bring retaliation.

Some in the know have speculated that the notoriously outspoken Pussy Riot member was sentenced to Mordovia, which is known for particularly harsh conditions, to break her spirit. But Tolokonnikova's international visibility — as well as that same spirit the authorities are trying so hard to break — may mean that she'll be the last one laughing. With a little over five months to go before her release, it looks like the 23-year-old will use every opportunity to stick it to the Russian state.

Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina, another member of the group, are set to be released in March, though Tolokonnikova's hunger strike may delay her release. Alyokhina — who, like Tolokonnikova, is a mother — has been arguing for an early release from prison to be with her child. Her appeal was delayed last week. The third Pussy Riot member who was convicted alongside them, Yekaterina Samutsevich, was released last October after her attorney argued that she was apprehended before she was able to actually take part in the action.

On Twitter, the art group Voina, which Tolokonnikova and several other Pussy Riot members had also been involved with, kept count of when outsiders last had contact with Tolokonnikova. On Monday night Russian time, they said it had been more than 94 hours since someone had contact with the hunger-striking activist.