Navalny on hunger strike over prison conditions

Moscow, Mar 31 (efe-epa).- Imprisoned Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny on Wednesday announced he would go on hunger strike to demand medical attention after his health reportedly deteriorated in recent days.

The critic of president Vladimir Putin was detained immediately upon returning to Russia in January after months of medical treatment in Germany following his near-fatal poisoning with the military-grade nerve agent Novichok while on a campaign trail in Siberia in August.

A Russian court found him guilty of breaching bail conditions relating to a suspended sentence he received in 2014 — which he maintains was political — and ordered him to serve the 3.5 years in prison, minus one year for time served under house arrest.

In a hand-written note shared by his lawyers, Navalny said: “I have the right to invite a doctor and to get medicine. I have been denied both. My back pain has now moved to my leg. Parts of my right leg and now my left leg are becoming numb. Joking aside, it is becoming a concern.”

He said guards at the penal colony east of Moscow would wake him up eight times a night to deprive him of sleep.

The 44-year-old politician and anti-corruption activist is Russia’s most-prominent Kremlin critic.

His detention sparked mass street protests in Russian cities, leading to thousands of arrests. EFE-EPA


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