Saturday, 18 September, 2021


Daughter of jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny says he needs a doctor

In this image made from video provided by the Babuskinsky District Court Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny stands in a cage during a hearing on his charges for defamation in the Babuskinsky District Court in Moscow Russia Friday Navalny Could Be Down to a Few Days, Doctors Say
Hannah Rogers | 18 April, 2021, 17:26

Alexei Navalny, 44, almost died in August 2020 when he was poisoned with the chemical nerve agent, Novichock.

Navalny was arrested on January 17 when he returned to Russian Federation from Germany, where had spent five months recovering from Soviet nerve-agent poisoning that he blames on the Kremlin.

A prominent critic of President Vladimir Putin, he was jailed in February for old embezzlement charges. In response, the U.S. president told reporters that it is "totally unfair" and "totally inappropriate".

The letter raised similar health concerns to those voiced on Tuesday by Navalny's wife, who said after visiting him in prison that he was having difficulty speaking and had lost more weight.

On Saturday, Navalny's doctors said his health had rapidly deteriorated and demanded prison officials grant them immediate access.

Navalny, a fierce opponent of Russian President Vladimir Putin, started refusing food on March 31 in protest at what he said was the refusal of prison authorities to provide him with proper medical care for acute back and leg pain.

The activist's blood potassium level were at 7.1 mmol (millimole) per liter, his doctors said - higher than the level of 6.0 which usually requires immediate treatment.

Anastasia Vasilyeva, head of the Navalny-backed Alliance of Doctors union, said on Twitter that "action must be taken immediately".

Navalny Could Be Down to a Few Days, Doctors Say

Navalny's spokeswoman Kira Yarmysh said on Saturday that the situation was critical. "In his condition, it is a matter of days".

She said she felt like she was "on that plane again, only this time it's landing in slow motion", pointing out that access to Navalny was restricted and few Russians were aware of what was actually going on with him in prison.

Their appeal was published late Friday by France's Le Monde newspaper.

In early April, as NPR previously reported, Navalny said he had developed a temperature and a cough.

On Friday, Russian prosecutors asked a court to label Navalny's Anti-Corruption Foundation and the network of his regional offices as "extremist" organizations, in a move that would outlaw them in Russia and could result in jail time for their members or even supporters.

A group of opposition regional lawmakers also called on Putin on Saturday to make sure Navalny is properly treated.

'The darkest times are beginning for free-thinking people, for civil society in Russian Federation, ' said Leonid Volkov, the head of Navalny's regional offices.

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