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  1. ITV Report

German doctors say claims that Pussy Riot member was poisoned are 'highly plausible'

Pyotr Verzilov, a member of the feminist protest group Pussy Riot. Photo: AP/Press Association Images

German doctors treating Pyotr Verzilov, a member of Russian protest group Pussy Riot, say claims that he was poisoned are “highly plausible” based on his symptoms.

Dr Kai-Uwe Eckardt of Berlin’s Charite hospital told reporters that Mr Verzilov has been receiving intensive care since arriving in Berlin from Moscow on Saturday, but his condition is not life threatening.

Dr Eckardt said his current symptoms and information received from relatives and the Moscow hospital he was admitted to last week “indeed make it highly plausible that a poisoning took place”.

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By contrast, he said, Charite doctors have found “no evidence whatsoever that there would be another explanation for his condition”.

Dr Eckardt said Mr Verzilov was treated well in Moscow before being flown to Germany by private medevac.

He says the symptoms indicate Mr Verzilov is suffering from an anticholinergic syndrome that can result from the disruption of the nervous system that regulates the inner organs.

While doctors in Berlin have not yet determined what was responsible for the poisoning, they said it could have resulted from various substances including high doses of some pharmaceuticals and plants that contain particular toxins.

Kai-Uwe Eckhardt, medical director of the Charite clinic. Credit: Michael Sohn/AP

Dr Karl Max Einhaeupl, the Charite hospital’s chairman, said doctors wanted to “refrain completely from all speculation about what made these problems happen”.

While he would not rule out that recreational drugs were responsible for the poisoning, he said such drug use is very rare.

“We have no evidence that there is a drug problem and it would be very unusual for someone to take a drug in the dose that it was taken,” he said.

“That would be done with suicidal intent, but we have no indications of this.”

Mr Verzilov and other members of the Pussy Riot group served 15-day jail sentences for disrupting July’s World Cup final to protest over excessive Russian police powers.