Thursday, May 23, 2013

Pussy Riot Member Banned From Her Own Parole Hearing, Begins Hunger Strike

Pussy Riot Member Banned From Her Own Parole Hearing, Begins Hunger Strike:
Jailed Pussy Riot member Maria
Alyokhina has begun a hunger strike, protesting a court decision
banning her from attending her own parole hearing.
Alyokhina and two of her fellow Pussy Riot members were
sentenced to two years in prison for "hooliganism motivated by
religious hatred" after performing an anti-Putin song in a Moscow
cathedral. Yekaterina Samutsevich, another member of Pussy Riot,
had her sentence
suspended
after her lawyers successfully argued she was
restrained by guards outside the cathedral before she could get her
guitar out of its case.
From
The Guardian
:
Maria Alyokhina, 24, also forbade her lawyers from further
representing her during the parole hearing, becoming the most
high-profile prisoner to reject taking part in a justice system
widely criticised as absurd.
A regional court in Berezniki, a small city in the Urals region
of Perm where Alyokhina's prison colony is situated, had denied the
activist the right to appear at her parole hearing on Wednesday.
She appeared via videolink, and was required to file all motions by
fax, requiring regular breaks in the hearing.
At the end of the day-long hearing, she announced she would
start a hunger strike. The parole hearing was due to continue on
Thursday.
"Let the troika sitting here – the judge, the prosecutor and the
colony employee – decide my fate," Alyokhina said at the close of
Wednesday's proceedings, referring to the Soviet-era three-person
commissions that issued sentences to perceived enemies without a
trial.
The European Union recently
expressed concern
over Russia’s human rights record, and last
month
Human Rights Watch
 released a report stating that,
"The Russian government has unleashed a crackdown on
civil society unprecedented in the country's post-Soviet
history."