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Jailed Pussy Riot member begins hunger strike

Alyokhina was refused by a court to attend her parole hearing Wednesday triggering her decision.

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A picture taken on October 10, 2012, shows two jailed members of the all-girl punk band 'Pussy Riot,' Maria Alyokhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, sitting in a glass-walled cage in a court in Moscow. Alyokhina announced Wednesday she would begin a hunger strike. (Natalia Kolesnikova/AFP/Getty Images)

Pussy Riot band member Maria Alyokhina began a hunger strike Wednesday to protest a court decision prohibiting her from attending her own parole hearing.

Alyokhina, 24, was refused by a court to attend the hearing and rather was only allowed to appear by videolink.

The regional court in the remote Urals town of Berezniki said also that all motions would be completed by fax instead of in person.

Alyokhina made her announcement of the hunger strike at the end of the all-day hearing that is expected to last into Thursday.

"Let the troika sitting here – the judge, the prosecutor and the colony employee – decide my fate," she said.

She is currently serving two-years in prison along with her bandmate Nadezhda Tolokonnikova on charges of "hooliganism motivated by religious hatred," after performing a song critical of Vladimir Putin in a Moscow church.

The third band member, Yekaterina Samutsevich, was released from prison after her sentence was suspended.

Nadezhda Tolokonnikova's parole was denied in a hearing last month but she was allowed to attend in person.

The case against Pussy Riot has drawn worldwide attention and has shed light on the power of the Russian Orthodox Church.

The Guardian reported that the case also highlights the crackdown on the anti-Putin opposition.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/europe/russia/130522/jailed-pussy-riot-member-begins-hunger-strike