Jailed Pro-Kyiv Russian Activist Starts Hunger Strike

A Russian activist in the southern region of Krasnodar jailed for propagating extremism and separatism online has started a hunger strike in custody, her mother says.

Darya Polyudova's mother, Tatyana Polyudova, says her daughter started the hunger strike on August 2 to protest conditions in the penal colony.

According to Tatyana Polyudova, other inmates in the penal colony constantly mistreat her daughter and provoke her into conflicts.

She added that political prisoners should be kept separately from other convicts.

Tatyana Polyudova said her daughter suspects the penal colony's administration is behind the pressure on her.

Darya Polyudova was sentenced to two years in a minimum-security penal colony in December 2015, becoming the first person in Russia convicted under a law criminalizing calls for separatism on the Internet, legislation that came into force in May 2014.

She was indicted in 2014 after she made pro-Ukrainian statements online critical of Moscow for its support of pro-Russia separatists in eastern Ukraine, where fighting between government forces and the separatists has killed more than 10,000 people since April 2014.

The Moscow-based Memorial Human Rights Center has added Polyudova to its list of political prisoners in Russia.

With reporting by OVD-Info