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Maria Alekhina (via Wikipedia)

A member of the punk feminist group Pussy Riot, Maria Alekhina, has declared a hunger strike after a Russian judge refused to allow her to personally attend a court hearing about her possible parole, according to the Associated Press.

Alekhina, who was watching the hearing remotely through a video link, ordered her defense team not to participate in the upcoming afterhearing that her request was denied.

According to Russia Today:

Following the announcement, the court ruled to postpone the parole hearing till May 23. “I’m declaring a hunger strike and order my defense lawyers not to take part in this court trial,” Alekhina stated.

Alekhina and fellow band members Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Yekaterina Samutsevich were sentenced to two years in prison last August for “hooliganism motivated by religious hatred,” after they and other members of the Pussy Riot collective performed an anti-Putin song unauthorized in Moscow’s Cathedral of Christ the Saviour. Samutsevich was released after just six months, but Tolokonnikova was denied bail last month.

The Hollywood Reporter is reporting that:

Pavel Chikov, head of human rights body Agora, said denying Alekhina the right to appear in person at a court so closer to where she is serving her sentence was an affront to her dignity.

And they added, in classic Hollywood Reporter style:

In January HBO picked up US TV rights to Pussy Riot — A Punk Prayer, a documentary about the group and its political activities by British filmmaker Mike Lerner and Russian Maxim Pozdorovkin that screened at Sundance.

Hrag Vartanian

Hrag Vartanian is editor-in-chief and co-founder of Hyperallergic. You can follow him at @hragv.