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Member Of Anti-Putin Punk Band Pussy Riot Airlifted To Germany After Alleged Poison Attack

A member of the anti-Vladimir Putin punk band, Pussy Riot, has been airlifted to Germany after what his bandmates are calling a deliberate poisoning.

Pyotr Verzilov "fell ill during a court hearing" last week, TIME magazine reports, and was left paralyzed and unable to see by the alleged attack. He spent several days in a toxicology unit in a Moscow hospital before a non-profit in Germany helped get him airlifted to Berlin. He "regained consciousness on Friday."

The punk band Pussy Riot may be best known for serving jail time for "hooliganism" after they were arrested in an anti-Putin protest in 2012. Since then, the band, which has a revolving roster of about 11 members, has toured the world, bringing awareness to what they say is a corrupt Putin regime, and advocating for LGBT and women's rights in Russia.

The band is by no means without controversy, including internal strife, but since embarking on their world protest tour they've also come under attack from various — apparently pro-Putin — forces. Members of the band were physically attacked during a performance at the Sochi Winter Olympics, three band members were quietly detained after a protest in Siberia, and Verzilov, specifically, was arrested after running onto the field in protest during the FIFA World Cup earlier this year.

Right now, the band is hoping their member recovers enough that they can determine whether the poisoning was, indeed, a pro-Putin attack. The method of attack is, of course, a signature of pro-Putin forces. A "double agent" working both for Moscow and Western intelligence agencies fell ill earlier this year after eating food tainted with a nerve agent.

“We hope now that he will be helped quickly in Berlin and that we can then establish whether and how he was poisoned in Russia,” a spokesperson for the German non-profit working with Verzilov told media over the weekend.

 
 
 

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