Jailed Pussy Riot Member Ends Hunger Strike

Pussy Riot - A Controversy in Russia and Around the Globe
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Russian feminist punk band Pussy Riot wasn't well known around the world until a court sentenced three members to two years in prison for a “punk prayer” at Moscow’s Christ the Savior Cathedral last February that was planned in protest of the country's political strong man Vladimir Putin. A global uproar, including contributions from Madonna, protest marches and social media campaigns, followed. Late in the year, one of the three women, Yekaterina Samutsevich, was freed. While Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina continue to serve their jail sentences, an appeal to the European court of human rights in Strasbourg is pending.
 

The bandmember relayed that she has ended her action after prison officials restored the normal security regime.

MOSCOW (AP) — A jailed member of the punk group Pussy Riot has ended her 11-day hunger strike Saturday after prison authorities met her demands, an activist said.

Maria Alyokhina had complained that officials at her prison colony in the Ural Mountains attempted to turn fellow inmates against her with a security crackdown. Inmates, who could previously enter and leave their workplace freely, had to wait for up to an hour for prison guards to escort them.

Pyotr Verzilov, the husband of Alyokhina's jailed band mate Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, told The Associated Press that Alyokhina called Saturday to say she has ended her action after prison officials restored the normal security regime.

STORY: Imprisoned Russian Pussy Riot Member Declares Hunger Strike 

Verzilov said authorities took Alyokhina, who was hospitalized Tuesday, on a tour across the prison colony, so that she sees that all extra security measures were removed. The extra security meant that inmates were denied prompt medical care when they sustained injuries during their work sewing uniforms.

"It looks improbable, it's not in the tradition of the prison system here to make any concessions," Verzilov said. "There must have been a political decision."

Alyokhina's lawyer, Irina Khrunova, confirmed to the AP that she ended the hunger strike, but gave no further details.

Alyokhina and Tolokonnikova are serving two-year sentences over an irreverent punk protest against Vladimir Putin in Moscow's main cathedral. The third band member convicted alongside them, Yekaterina Samutsevich, was later released on appeal.

Courts have denied parole to Alyokhina and Tolokonnikova, who are serving their sentence in different prison colonies.

Alyokhina earlier spent five months in solitary confinement after claiming that officials deliberately lodged her with hardened criminals, including a convicted murderer, and encouraged them to intimidate her.

In a complaint filed in January, Khrunova wrote that officials did nothing after seeing criminals threaten Alekhina with violence. The lawyer said officials also wrote false psychiatric reports and pushed Alyokhina into violating colony rules.