Pussy Riot member starts hunger strike to protest court ruling

Jailed Pussy Riot punk rock group member Maria Alyokhina is seen on a monitor, as she takes part in a video conference from the penal colony, inside the courtroom during a hearing in the town of
Jailed Pussy Riot punk rock group member Maria Alyokhina is seen on a monitor, as she takes part in a video conference from the penal colony, inside the courtroom during a hearing in the town of

A member of the Pussy Riot band who was jailed over a protest against President Vladimir Putin in a Russian cathedral said on Wednesday she was starting a hunger strike after she was barred from a parole hearing.

Maria Alyokhina also told her lawyers to quit the proceedings.

She and bandmate Nadezhda Tolokonnikova are serving two-year prison terms for bursting into Moscow’s main Russian Orthodox cathedral in February 2012 and singing a profanity-laced “punk prayer” urging the Virgin Mary: “Throw Putin out!”

Speaking by a video link from prison, Alyokhina told the court considering her request for release on parole that it had violated her rights by not allowing her to take part.

“In protest against the court’s refusal to allow me to appear in person to take part in the hearing, I’m going on a hunger strike,” Alyokhina was shown reading from her statement in a video from the prison in the Perm region.

“In the current circumstances I forbid all my lawyers and representatives to take part in this court hearing”.

The judge at the court in Berezniki, the Ural Mountains town more than 1,000 km (620 miles) northeast of Moscow, adjourned the hearing until Thursday.

Alyokhina’s lawyer packed up her things and left her seat behind the defense’s desk empty, acting on her client’s wishes. She said Alyokhina’s decision was a method of last resort.

“She decided that only in this way, with the attention (brought by) a hunger strike, could she show how the rights of defendants are violated,” Irina Khrunova said.

“She made this decision soundly, independently, and after deliberation.”

Alyokhina’s mother, Natalia, said she had little faith in Russian justice and would not raise her hopes of her daughter’s parole.

“I don’t expect anything good from the judge. It will be hard,” she said.

Reprimands Alyokhina received for violating the prison’s rules may block her parole. She was said to be rude to prison staff and to not respect sleeping hours.

Alyokhina, 24, and two bandmates were convicted of hooliganism motivated by religious hatred last August after a trial seen by Putin’s opponents as part of a clampdown on dissent during a third term in power he began in May 2012.

Western governments and many entertainers, including Madonna, said the sentence was disproportionate but Putin, a former KGB spy who has cultivated close ties with the Russian Orthodox Church, said the state needed to protect the faithful.

One of the three women jailed, Yekaterina Samutsevich, was freed last October when a judge suspended her sentence on appeal after she argued she had been prevented from taking part in the protest because a guard seized her.

Tolokonnikova, 23, was denied parole last month and both she and Alyokhina have had requests for their sentences deferred until their young children are older rejected by courts. They are due for release next March.

 


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Memorial held for Sean Collier, MIT police officer…

More than 1,600 people gathered at MIT on Friday for a memorial service for Sean Collier, the police officer shot to death a year ago in the aftermath of the…

National

Florida man charged with murdering son to play…

A Florida man annoyed that his 16-month-old crying son was preventing him from playing video games suffocated the toddler, police said on Friday.

International

Powerful 7.2 magnitude earthquake rattles Mexico

A powerful earthquake struck Mexico Friday, shaking buildings and sending people running into the street, although there were no reports of major damage.

News

OMG! Exercise can make skin (and butt) look…

A moderate exercise regime can turn back time and actually reverse the skin's aging process, according to new research. The study showed that a minimum…

Entertainment

Whoopi Goldberg makes her debut as marijuana columnist

"It helps my head stop hurting, and with glaucoma your eyes ache, and she takes the ache out. It's wonderful," she said.

The Word

Kate Middleton made fun of Prince William's bald…

Kate Middleton and Prince William are in Sydney, Australia, right now, and it sounds like that brash Aussie sense of humor might be rubbing off.

The Word

Is Tom Cruise dating Laura Prepon?

"Mission: Impossible" star Cruise is said to be dating Laura Prepon, star of "Orange is the New Black."

Television

'Scandal' recap: Season 3, Episode 18, 'The Price…

Sally is Jesus, Olivia caused global warming, and Mellie's still drunk. Let's recap the Scandal finale. A church full of Washington insiders is about to…

MLB

MLB video highlights: Red Sox defeat Orioles, 4-2

Brock Holt the difference in the Red Sox' win

NHL

NHL video highlights & analysis: Red Wings dump…

NHL video highlights & analysis: Red Wings dump Bruins in Game 1

MLB

MLB video highlights: Orioles top Red Sox, 8-4…

John Lackey roughed up for second straight outing

MLB

MLB video highlights: Red Sox score two in…

Lester shines in Red Sox win over White Sox

Parenting

How to parent without gender stereotypes in a…

Christia Spears Brown, Phd. author of "Parenting beyond Pink & Blue" gives advice on raising kids free of gender stereotypes.

Tech

VIDEO: 'Vein-scanning' may become the future of paying

Designed to make transactions quicker and easier, the technology works by scanning the unique vein patterns in each person's palm.

Tech

#FollowFriday: 10 of the smartest Twitter accounts

Spending lots of time on Twitter? You might as well learn something. Here are some of the smartest accounts to follow.

Style

Light-up nail art syncs with phone

This Japanese technology syncs light-up nail art with your phone.