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Jailed Pussy Riot member on hunger strike hospitalized

Pussy Riot's imprisoned Maria Alyokhina, who went on hunger strike last week after being barred from her parole hearing, was hospitalized on Tuesday.

Pussy riot protester and policeEnlarge
Policemen detain a protester calling for the release of two jailed members of the Pussy Riot protest punk band in central Moscow on March 8, 2013. (Evgeny Feldman/AFP/Getty Images)

A jailed member of the infamous Russian protest group Pussy Riot who went on a hunger strike last week was hospitalized on Tuesday, according to the husband of another imprisoned member.

Maria Alyokhina, 24, is serving a two-year prison sentence for her part in an anti-President Vladimir Putin protest song the group performed last year in Moscow's main cathedral.

"Today the prison administration decided to put her in the hospital after being on hunger strike for a week," said Pyotr Verzilov, husband of Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, who was also sent to prison in October last year.

Alyokhina began the strike after a Russian court said she could not attend her own parole hearing. The court later rejected her bid for parole, with a prison official saying she lacked "initiative in household chores," and that she was "not repenting for what she has done."

The Viona radical art collective, a group considered to have close ties with Pussy Riot, publicized the news on its twitter handle. "Have just been informed that Alyokhina was admitted for an examination into the prison colony's medical quarters," the group tweeted.

Alyokhina and Tolokonnikova were both convicted of "hooliganism motivated by religious hatred" for singing what's called a "punk prayer" in a Russian Orthodox Church that has links to President Vladimir Putin.

Yekaterina Samutsevich, the third jailed Pussy Riot member, was freed in October, when on an appeal a judge suspended her sentence.

The Pussy Riot case has drawn international attention since it began, with western governments and celebrities commenting on what many consider a prison sentence disproportionate to the crime. Paul McCartney sent Alyokhina a letter in which he asked the court to set her free on parole.

"I believe that you granting this request would send a very positive message to all the people who have followed this case," the letter said. "My personal belief is that further incarceration for Maria will be harmful for her and the situation as a whole, which, of course, is being watched by people all over the world."  

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/europe/130528/jailed-pussy-riot-member-hunger-strike-hospitalized