Pussy Riot member declares hunger strike in prison

BEREZNIKI, Russia (AP) — An imprisoned member of the punk band Pussy Riot says she is going on hunger strike after a judge refused to allow her to attend a court hearing where she was seeking release on parole.

Maria Alekhina, watching the trial from a prison colony via video link, ordered her defense not to participate in the hearing Wednesday, saying the court was violating her rights.

A judge in the province of Perm in the Ural mountains, where Alekhina is being held, postponed the hearing until Thursday.

Alekhina and fellow band member Nadezhda Tolokonnikova are serving two-year sentences for "hooliganism motivated by religious hatred" for an impromptu protest in Moscow's main cathedral last year. Tolokonnikova's appeal for parole was denied last month.

A third band member, Yekaterina Samutsevich, was paroled last year.