Crime & Justice

Russian doctors call for an end to Navalny ‘abuse’ in Putin letter

Moscow, Jan 11 (EFE).- An open letter to Russia’s president Vladimir Putin calling for an end to the “abuse” faced by jailed opposition leader Alexei Navalny has garnered the support of hundreds of doctors in Russia Wednesday.

Nearly 500 hundred Russian doctors have signed the petition asking Putin “to allow civilian doctors to see Navalny” and provide hospital care if necessary.

According to the letter, the conditions in which Navalny is held are a cause of “great concern for his life.”

On Monday, Navalny wrote on Twitter that he had been sent to a “punishment cell” on New Year’s Eve, allegedly for the 10th time since his nine-year sentence began, after allegedly washing his face half an hour before he was supposed to in the morning.

Later, Navalny’s lawyers reported he had fallen ill with a fever and cough after his alleged time in confinement.

In the letter, the doctors tell Putin that he, as “the guarantor of the Russian Constitution,” should ensure the execution of Article 41 which stipulates that “every citizen”, including convicts, “has the right to health care and medical assistance.”

Navalny, who is 46 years old, has said that every time he is sent to the punishment cell he has lost about 3.5 kilos (roughly eight pounds), and added that he is not allowed to receive any visits.

In November, the Russian judiciary rejected an appeal by Navalny’s lawyers and upheld his nine-year prison sentence for large-scale fraud and contempt of court, which the politician says is political.

In August 2020, Navalny, Russia’s most prominent opposition politician and Putin critic, narrowly survived a nerve agent attack while on a campaign trail in Siberia.

After undergoing specialist treatment in Germany, he returned to Russia in January 2021 despite warnings. He was detained at the airport in Moscow and held for breaching the conditions of a previously suspended sentence.

Navalny said the attempt on his life was carried out with the knowledge of senior Kremlin officials, including Putin. EFE mos/aef/jt

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