Berlin doctors say Russian Pussy Riot activist may have been poisoned | News | DW | 18.09.2018
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Berlin doctors say Russian Pussy Riot activist may have been poisoned

Doctors treating Pyotr Verzilov in Berlin said it was likely he was poisoned, adding there was no other explanation for his symptoms. He drew international attention with his protest during the FIFA World Cup.

The symptoms presented by Pyotr Verzilov, an activist with ties to Russian protest group Pussy Riot, indicate that he was likely poisoned, doctors at Berlin's Charite Hospital told reporters on Tuesday.

"The impression and the findings that we now have, as well as those provided by colleagues from Moscow, suggest that it was highly plausible that it was a case of poisoning," said Kai-Uwe Eckardt, one of the leading doctors at the hospital.

Doctors in Berlin still haven't been able to determine exactly what substance was responsible for the poisoning, but said that the toxin caused disruptions to Verzilov's nervous system.

The hospital's chairman, Dr. Karl Max Einhäupl, said that it did not appear that Verzilov was suffering from a long-term illness or that he had a drug problem. 

Einhäupl added that 30-year-old Russian-Canadian's "health condition was improving from day to day and he is no longer in life-threatening danger." He will continue to receive intensive care.

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German doctors: Anti-Kremlin activist probably poisoned

Slim chances for determining poison

Doctors in Berlin are running tests in an attempt to determine the exact substance used, but the chances of the poison turning up in lab tests are slim since almost a week has passed since it was used.

After being treated in Moscow, Verzilov was flown to the German capital on Saturday by the Cinema for Peace Foundation, an NGO that supports Pussy Riot's activism. 

The anti-Kremlin activist and several Pussy Riot members were detained for two weeks in Russia after they ran onto the field during the final game of the World Cup in Moscow in July. The move was part of a protest against police violence.

Verzilov is a publisher at Mediazona, an online news site that focuses on human rights violations in Russia's penal system.

rs/jil (AP, AFP, dpa, Reuters)

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