Pussy Riot: 'We Think He Was Poisoned'

Russian activist Pyotr Verzilov can no longer walk, activists say
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 13, 2018 7:20 AM CDT
In this July 15, 2018 photo, stewards pull Pyotr Verzilov off the pitch after he stormed onto the field and interrupted the final match between France and Croatia at the 2018 soccer World Cup in the Luzhniki...   (AP Photo/Martin Meissner, File)
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(Newser) – Pyotr Verzilov, an activist long associated with protest group Pussy Riot, is in intensive care and may have been poisoned, members say. Verzilov, ex-husband of Pussy Riot member Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, was one of four activists who stormed the pitch in police uniforms during the World Cup in July before issuing a list of demands, the BBC reports. "His life is in danger. We think that he was poisoned," Pussy Riot tweeted Wednesday, describing Verzilov as "our friend, brother, comrade." Verzilov became ill after a Tuesday court hearing for fellow Pussy Riot activist Veronika Nikulshina, members say.

After the hearing, "he got worse exponentially," Nikulshina told Russian news outlet Meduza, per the Guardian. "First his sight, then his ability to speak, then even his ability to walk." According to Meduza, Verzilov is in the toxicology department of a Moscow hospital, and authorities have not allowed his mother to visit him. Verzilov and three female Pussy Riot members spent 15 days in jail for the pitch invasion, which they described as a protest against police brutality. Verzilov is the publisher of Mediazona, which was founded by Tolokonnikova in 2014 and reports on Russia's law enforcement and penal system. (Read more Pussy Riot stories.)

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