Pussy Riot activist in the Berlin hospital after "murder bid"

Pussy Riot activist in the Berlin hospital after "murder bid"

A member of the Russian punk band Pussy Riot was flown overnight after a suspected poisoning in a Berlin hospital. His alienated wife said on Sunday that it may have been an attempted murder.

Pyotr Verzilov, a Canadian and Russian citizen, was admitted to a clinic in Moscow on Tuesday after a trial in Moscow.

The 30-year-old was classified by the staff as "heavy" and first treated in the intensive care unit and later brought back to consciousness. However, he still had hallucinations and delirium, his girlfriend told the Russian media on Friday.

On late Saturday, he was flown to Germany with a medical helicopter chartered by the Cinema for Peace Foundation, an NGO that has long supported the activism of the band.

On his arrival, he met Pussy Riot's Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, his estranged wife, who told a German newspaper that the poisoning had been an attempt to kill him.

"I work on the principle that he was the victim of intimidation or attempted murder," she told the Sunday issue of Bild.

On Friday, his girlfriend Veronika Nikulshina, another Pussy Riot activist, told a Russian website she was "definitely poisoned".

She said he had been given a "large dose" of anti-cholinergic drugs used to treat a range of problems, including lung disease. His family said he did not take any medication.

– Testing for poison –

Verzilov's collapse on Tuesday came after he and Nikulshina, along with two other members of Pussy Riot, served a 15-day prison sentence for invading the pitch during the World Cup final in July to expose Russian police ill-treatment.

Jaka Bizilj, chairman of the Cinema for Peace Foundation, said the NGO urgently sent an ambulance to take him to Berlin to conduct tests.

"It was important for the family to be hospitalized outside Russia as soon as possible," he said.

"We hope that it will be possible in Berlin to help him quickly and see if he was poisoned in Russia and how," he added.

The newspaper said the German government was also involved in talks about the transfer to Berlin.

Maria Alyokhina, another member of Pussy Riot, told RIA Novosti news agency that Tolokonnikova was also involved in organizing the airlift.

"They found a doctor there, he'll make a diagnosis and treat him," she said.

On Facebook, his friend Nikulshina wrote relief that he had been transferred from Russia.

"Three times hurray to everyone who wrote, telephoned, visited, cried and sang: We are in Berlin, everything is fine," she wrote.

Pussy Riot activist Pyotr Verzilov was hospitalized on Tuesday and then treated for intensive poisoning in the ICU

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