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article imagePussy Riot activist conscious after 12 days in 'black hole'

By AFP     Sep 25, 2018 in World

An activist with Russian protest group Pussy Riot said on Tuesday he had regained consciousness after a suspected poisoning and spending 12 days in a "black hole."

Pyotr Verzilov, who has both Canadian and Russian citizenship, was admitted to a clinic in Moscow earlier this month with symptoms including vision loss and disorientation.

He was later flown to Germany and admitted to Berlin's Charite hospital.

"Only my third day in relative consciousness -- and before that 12 days as if in a black hole," the 30-year-old tweeted.

"I am spending my days in the friendly company of wondrous poisons. Neither polonium-210 nor Novichok but something new and amazing!"

Polonium-210 is a rare and highly radioactive isotope that killed Kremlin critic Alexander Litvinenko in London in 2006.

Britain says that a potent chemical from a group of Soviet-designed nerve agents dubbed Novichok has been used to target former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in the cathedral city of Salisbury in March.

Charite doctors believe Verzilov might have been poisoned by a toxin that disrupts the nervous system.

A Charite spokeswoman said the hospital had nothing new to report but would address the media as soon as there was "a noticeable change or improvement" in Verzilov's condition.

Pussy Riot has linked Verzilov's suspected poisoning with his attempt to investigate the deaths of three Russian journalists in Africa in July.

The journalists were shot dead in the Central African Republic while probing a shadowy Russian mercenary group for a project founded by President Vladimir Putin's foe Mikhail Khodorkovsky.

Verzilov's estranged wife, Pussy Riot's Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, claimed that his friends and her were being followed in Berlin.

She said on Facebook that Verzilov, his father and girlfriend were taken into police protection in Berlin.

The German authorities are looking into any possible links between those who followed them and those who might have poisoned Verzilov, she added.

Pussy Riot has repeatedly been in the crosshairs of the Kremlin.

In 2012, three of its members, including Tolokonnikova, were arrested for performing a song protesting against Putin in a central Moscow church.

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