General News

Jailed Russian punk rocker ends hunger strike

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Jun 03, 2013 | 1:01pm EDT

Incarcerated Pussy Riot star Maria Alekhina has ended her 11-day hunger strike after Russian authorities agreed to relax security procedures in her prison. The feminist rocker, one of three bandmembers jailed for performing a protest song at a Moscow church last year (12), stopped eating on 22 May (13) after she was banned from attending her parole hearing in person. She also complained about cell conditions and accused officials of imposing strict security measures to turn other inmates against her. Alekhina, who was briefly hospitalised last week (begs27May13), has since called off her fast after reaching an agreement with prison bosses. Pyotr Verzilov, the husband of Alekhina's jailed bandmate Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, tells Reuters, "It seems the public reaction (to Alekhina's hunger strike) was so big that there was a political decision. "They organised an 'excursion' for Maria today, where she was shown that all her demands, like removing metal locks from doors and easing 24-hour surveillance on certain inmates, were met." Alekhina and Tolokonnikova lost their latest bid for freedom last Wednesday (29May13) after court officials upheld their convictions on hooliganism charges. A third member of the group, Yekaterina Samutsevich, was released from prison in October (12) when her sentence was commuted.

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