Moscow (AP) – Supporters of imprisoned Kremlin adversary Alexei Navalny have expressed concern about his deteriorating health. The 44-year-old’s lawyers describe his condition as “not good” after a visit to the prison camp on Thursday.
Navalny has severe back pain, said lawyer Olga Mikhailova in front of the camp in Pokrov, about 100 kilometers east of Moscow in the Vladimir region. “His right leg is in a terrible condition,” she said in a video on the Medusa-Live news channel that is distributed via Instagram. Navalny could no longer put weight on her leg.
In the presence of her colleague Vadim Kobesv, Mikhailova demanded appropriate treatment of the opposition member so that he would not end up being rejected as an “invalid”. She criticized the fact that they could not see their client on Wednesday despite an appointment. It didn’t work until Thursday after a long wait. Navalny reported that he had been picked up the day before to meet with the lawyers. But then he was taken to a hospital for an examination.
“They also did an MRI,” Mikhailova said. After that he was only prescribed the painkiller ibuprofen as a tablet and ointment, but no treatment. “What a horrible horror,” Nawalny’s spokeswoman Kira Jarmysch said on Twitter.
The Russian criminal system had previously confirmed that Navalny had been investigated. “As a result of the study, his condition was judged to be stable and satisfactory,” he said. Navalny’s confidant Leonid Volkov spoke of a “torture camp” in which Navalny was the “personal hostage” of President Vladimir Putin.
Navalny himself had two communications published through his lawyers in which, in addition to a doctor’s visit, he also called for an end to “torture due to lack of sleep”. He had complained a few days ago that a security guard woke him up every hour of the night. His wife Julia also suspected that the lack of sleep made her husband’s symptoms worse.
Russia’s best-known opposition politician was treated with the neurotoxin Novitschok in Germany last August after an assassination attempt. On his return on January 17, Navalny was arrested at Sheremetyevo Airport in Moscow. Shortly afterwards, a court in Moscow sentenced him to a prison camp. The reason: During his stay in Germany, he is alleged to have violated reporting requirements to the Russian authorities in previous criminal proceedings. The judgment has been heavily criticized internationally and classified as politically motivated.
Against the backdrop of the poison attack, some 160 Russian human rights activists, journalists and cultural workers have now written an open letter to the head of the penal system, Alexander Kalashnikov, calling for better prison conditions for Navalny. “When Navalny returned to Russia, his health recovery was not yet complete.” It is clear that he does not receive the correct medication during his detention, according to the letter from writer Lyudmila Ulitskaya and director Vitaly Manski, among others.
Manuel Sarrazin, a member of the Green Bundestag, said the reports on Nawalny’s health status “filled him with great concern”. “One can get the impression that the partial recovery after Novichok poisoning needs to be revised.” FDP foreign politician Alexander Graf Lambsdorff demanded that Germany, along with member states of the Council of Europe, push for the immediate release of Navalny.
More than 250,000 people have already signed up on a specially created interactive map to participate in new demonstrations for the release of Nawalny. The opposition team announced two days ago that it would announce a date for further mass protests once 500,000 people were ready to join them. At the beginning of the year, tens of thousands of people across Russia took part in such illicit actions.