Poisoning of Pussy Riot protester ‘highly plausible’, doctors say

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It is “highly plausible” that a Pussy Riot protester who fell critically ill in Berlin was poisoned, doctors say.

Pyotr Verzilov, 30, who ran on to the pitch in an act of protest during the World Cup final, has been in intensive care since arriving in Berlin from Moscow on Saturday.

Dr Kai-Uwe Eckardt, of the Berlin Charity Hospital, said his symptoms indicated a disruption of the parts of the nervous system that regulates the inner organs.

He said the activist’s symptoms, and information from relatives and the Moscow hospital where he was admitted last week, make it “highly plausible that a poisoning took place” – adding that there was “no evidence whatsoever” for another explanation.

Verzilov has reportedly lost his ability to see, speak and move around  Poisoning of Pussy Riot protester ‘highly plausible’, doctors say skynews pyotr verzilov pussy riot 4419084
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Verzilov has reportedly lost his ability to see, speak and move around

Doctors are yet to determine the particular substance responsible for the poisoning, but say it could have resulted from high doses of some pharmaceuticals or plants that contain toxins.

Dr Eckardt said Mr Verzilov’s condition was not life-threatening, and said he had been treated well in Moscow before being flown to Germany.

Mr Verzilov, a publisher of online news focusing on rights abuses in Russia, was protesting with Pussy Riot against what they describe as the excessive power of Russian police.

Other members of the band have speculated that he may have been poisoned.

Veronika Nukulshina, who reported that Mr Verzilov fell ill after a court hearing, said he started “convulsing” and “babbling” before falling into a “half-asleep, half-unconscious state”.

Veronika Nikulshina said Verzilov's condition had deteriorated  Poisoning of Pussy Riot protester ‘highly plausible’, doctors say skynews veronika nikulshina 4419081
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Veronika Nikulshina said Mr Verzilov’s condition had deteriorated

She told media outlet Meduza she believed Mr Verzilov had been poisoned with a “large dose” of “anti-cholinergic drugs”, which act to suppress the actions of nerves that control essential functions of the body.

He was rushed to the Bakhrushin City Clinical Hospital in Sokolniki, where his condition deteriorated, and was later moved to a Berlin hospital.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said Mr Verzilov’s illness is “of concern” given “actions of recent months by the Russians in the United Kingdom”, but noted it is “too early to draw conclusions”.



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