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Jailed Russian punk star begins hunger strike

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May 22, 2013 | 2:17pm EDT

One of the two members of Russian punk group Pussy Riot who remain incarcerated on hooliganism charges has begun a hunger strike behind bars. Maria Alekhina, who was sentenced to two years in prison for performing a protest song at a prominent Orthodox Moscow cathedral last year (12), has told lawmakers she is protesting after being barred from attending a parole appeal hearing in person The punk star was taking part in the Berezniki City Court proceedings via teleconference from prison when she told her lawyers to stop representing her, and then announced her hunger strike, according to news agency Ria Novosti. Bandmates Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Yekaterina Samutsevich were also sentenced to serve two years behind bars in August (12), but Samutsevich was released from prison in October (12) when her sentence was commuted. Alekhina had threatened to quit eating earlier this year (13) after complaining about prison conditions. The rocker told the Novaya Gazeta newspaper that she was placed in solitary confinement for 90 days in November (12) to protect her from other inmates and revealed she had been cooking her own vegetarian meals from products provided by friends and fans. She told the publication that she would stage a hunger strike if she felt threatened by fellow inmates when her solitary confinement spell ended.

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