Prisoners forced to work 17 hours a day in “slavery-like” conditions, claims the jailed protestor.

Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, one the jailed members of Russian art-punk band Pussy Riot, has embarked on a hunger strike in protest against her living conditions in jail.

In a long letter detailing life inside her prison colony, she explains that guards force inmates to work 16 or 17 hours a day, leaving them barely more than four hours a night and only one day off every six weeks.

“I will not remain silent, resigned to watch as my fellow prisoners collapse under the strain of slavery-like conditions,” she writes. “I demand that the colony administration respect human rights; I demand that the Mordovia camp function in accordance with the law. I demand that we be treated like human beings, not slaves.”

Her hunger strike comes after her fellow band member Maria Alyokhina held an 11-day hunger strike in May in protest against a Russian court’s decision to ban her from attending her own parole hearing.

The full text of the letter can be read here. Last year, three members of the band were given two-year jail sentences after being convicted of “hooliganism motivated by religious hatred” following a Pussy Riot performance in Moscow’s largest cathedral in February 2012. One of the defendants was cleared on appeal, but Tolokonnikova and Alyokhina remain incarcerated.

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