Jailed Pussy Riot Member Hospitalized After Hunger Strike

Maria Alekhina, member of persecuted Russian feminist punk group Pussy Riot, was hospitalized Tuesday after the seventh day of a hunger strike spurred by months of predictably vicious treatment by prison officials.

In a letter published by her lawyers, Alekhina said guards tried to turn fellow inmates against her by holding a "security crackdown" in advance of her parole hearing last week. Inmates used to be able to come and go from their workplace (Can you call it a "workplace" if you're forced to sew hundreds of uniforms a day?) as they wished, but now they have to wait up to an hour for prison guards to escort them, which means they also have to wait on medical care for the injuries they get sewing at sweatshop speed.

Previously, Alekhina spent five months in solitary confinement after claiming that she was purposefully lodged with hardened criminals, including a convicted murder, who were encouraged by officials to intimidate her. Lovely. In a complaint filed in January, she said officials also wrote false psychiatric reports and pushed her into violating colony rules.

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Alekhina went on the hunger strike after she was forbidden from attending her own parole hearing last week. The court denied her release. Would you eat?

A reminder: Alekhina and her bandmates were convicted of "hooliganism motivated by religious hatred" for an inspired, unauthorized performance in Moscow's main cathedral. Since then, it's been feminist punk ideals vs. Russian President Vladimir Putin, who said Pussy Riot had "undermined the moral foundations" of the nation and "got what they asked for."

Earlier this year, fellow band member Nadezhda Tolokonnikova was hospitalized after being forced to sew hundreds of jackets a day. Last month, she was denied parole. If this was a movie, Pussy Riot's fans would revolt by breaking the women out of jail and overthrowing the dictatorship. How horribly do these women need to be treated until they instigate revolution or, at least, receive some justice? It's not looking good.

[AP]

Image via AP.