Imprisoned Russian Activist Facing Abuse Behind Bars, Mother Says

An activist who is serving time over Internet posts criticizing Russia's actions in Ukraine is being mistreated in prison, her mother says.

Darya Polyudova's mother, Tatyana Polyudova, told RFE/RL on September 7 that her daughter went on a hunger strike on August 31 to protest conditions at the prison where she is being held but had to stop after several days due to medical problems.

The prison director had warned Polyudova that she would be forcibly fed if she did not stop the hunger strike, her mother said.

She said it was her daughter's third hunger strike since she was sent to the prison in the southern city of Novorossiisk.

Tatyana Polyudova said her daughter has been subjected to physical attacks and other abuse by fellow inmates and suspects that the prison authorities are behind the mistreatment.

There was no immediate comment from prison officials.

Polyudova was sentenced to two years in prison in 2015 after being convicted of propagating extremism and separatism online.

She had been charged in 2014 over Internet posts in which she criticized the Russian government for its support of separatists in eastern Ukraine, where fighting that erupted in April of that year has killed more than 10,000 people.

The Moscow-based Memorial human rights center has designated Polyudova a political prisoner.