Moscow (dpa) – After more than two weeks of hunger strike, concerns about the health of imprisoned Kremlin opponent Alexei Navalny are growing. Doctors around him warned this weekend that the 44-year-old’s heart would stop.
Immediate action must be taken, a team of doctors around Navalny’s doctor Anastassija Wassiljewa warned in the short message service Twitter. A Navalny spokeswoman even wrote, “Alexei dies.” Death is only a matter of days. The information could not be verified.
The most prominent Russian opposition politician’s doctor again demanded access to Navalny in a letter to prison authorities published Saturday. “We doctors are ready to take action. The question remains whether the prison camp is ready to work together to save Nawalny’s life. “At 1.90 meters, he weighed 76 kilos a few days ago, according to his wife. He should lose one kilogram a day. Navalny is in a camp about 100 kilometers from Moscow under difficult conditions.
The support came from more than 70 celebrities who wrote an open letter to Russian President Vladimir Putin requesting medical treatment. It says, “As a Russian citizen, he has the right to be examined and treated by a doctor of his choice.” The call was printed in various European newspapers on Saturday. Signatories include Harry Potter author JK Rowling, Nobel laureates such as Herta Müller and Louise Glück, Abba founder Björn Ulvaeus, and the actor Benedict Cumberbatch.
Navalny has been on hunger strike since March 31. He is threatened with force-feeding. Putin’s opponent, who barely survived a poison attack last year, recently complained of back pain, limb paralysis, fever and cough. Wassiljewa and three colleagues also discussed critical potassium levels, which can lead to kidney failure and serious cardiac arrhythmias. “We are very concerned about his condition,” said letter to head of the penal system, Alexander Kalashnikov. “We urgently ask for negotiations.”
Nawalny’s spokeswoman Kira Jarmysch wrote on Facebook that lawyers were unable to contact her client on weekends. “Nobody knows what’s going to happen Monday.” According to her, more demonstrations are planned for a release. In January there were already protests all over the country.
Cardiologist Alexei Erlich told radio station Echo Moskvy: “I don’t know whether Navalny’s fate will be determined by the penitentiary system, by the presidential administration or by Putin himself. But now, today, we need a fundamental decision that will enable independent doctors to meet Navalny. “The medic is part of the opposition party’s team of personal doctors.