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Pussy Riot Member Starts Hunger Strike

A member of the Russian feminist punk rock band Pussy Riot has announced that she is launching a hunger strike after she was denied the right to attend her parole hearing.

Maria Alyokhina was denied the ability to attend her parole hearing in person and instead had to communicate with the court through video link and faxes. She addressed the court on Wednesday, “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. In the current circumstances I forbid all my lawyers and representatives to take part in this court hearing."

Last month, a second member of Pussy Riot, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, was denied parole. Earlier this year, she was sent to the hospital because of what may have been a new health problem that developed since beginning her sentence. A third member was freed on appeal.

The three members of Pussy Riot were arrested after making an anti-Putin demonstration at Moscow's Christ the Savior Cathedral in August 2012. The members of Pussy Riot entered the church wearing bright colors and balaclavas, singing "Mother of God, Blessed Virgin, drive out Putin!" They noted later that their intent was to challenge the Church's political support for Putin and to show their dissatisfaction with Putin's 12-year political dominance. All three were arrested and charged with hooliganism.

Media Resources: Guardian 5/22/2013; Reuters 5/22/2013; Feminist Newswire 2/4/2013