A partnership of HuffPost and the
10/16/2012 04:56 pm ET

Pussy Riot Members To Spend Prison Sentence In Notorious Russian Penal Colony

After losing an appeal to serve their sentences in a pre-trial detention center last week, Pussy Riot members Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina will reportedly spend their two-year jail terms in one of the worst places imaginable -- at an infamous penal colony 100 kilometers outside Moscow, Reuters reports.

According to the Associated Press, some 40 inmates are cramped together in each prison barrack, starting the day with compulsory exercises in bone-chilling temperatures at dawn and spending the rest of their days doing “corrective labor."

“Everyone knows the rule: Trust no one, never fear and never forgive,” Svetlana Bakhmina, a lawyer who spent three years in a penal colony, told the AP. “You are in no-man’s land. Nobody will help you. You have to think about everything you say and do to remain a person.”

Prisons in Russia are notorious for their poor infrastructure, repressive living quarters and inhumane treatment of detainees, which has sparked outcry from human rights advocates worldwide. An online petition has urged Moscow officials to consider Tolokonnikova's and Alyokhina's safety and allow them to remain in Moscow for the sake of their young children.

While the website has managed to gain more than 21,000 signatures since mid-September, Russian law states that only inmates with prison terms of less than six months can serve out their sentences in pre-trial detention centers, Reuters reports.

In March, Tolokonnikova and Alyokhina werearrested and later convicted of hooliganism for staging an impromptu cathedral protest against Vladimir Putin along with fellow band member Yekaterina Samutsevich. Samutsevich was released on appeal on Oct. 10.

ALSO ON HUFFPOST:

Pussy Riot Appeal Sentence
Subscribe to the World Post email.

CONVERSATIONS