Jailed Kremlin critic Navalny losing sensation in legs and hands, says lawyer
The health of Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny is deteriorating as he keeps up his hunger strike in prison, his lawyers said Wednesday, with US President Joe Biden’s administration saying it is “disturbed” by the reports.
Last Wednesday President Vladimir Putin‘s most prominent opponent, who is serving two and a half years on embezzlement charges, launched a hunger strike to demand proper medical treatment for severe back pain and numbness in his legs.
Members of Navalny‘s defence team, who visited him in his penal colony in the town of Pokrov 100 kilometres (60 miles) east of Moscow on Wednesday, said he is now losing sensation in his hands and is coughing while still refusing food.
“He looks bad, he’s not feeling well,” lawyer Olga Mikhailova told AFP, adding Navalny now weighs “around 80” kilogrammes (176 pounds).
Navalny, who is 189 centimetres (six feet two inches) tall, weighed 93 kilogrammes (205 pounds) when he arrived in his penal colony last month.
“No one is going to treat him,” Mikhailova added.
Navalny’s lawyers and allies are demanding that he be transferred to a “normal” hospital but Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has said that Navalny is not entitled to any special treatment.
Another member of the opposition politician’s team, Vadim Kobzev, said that 44-year-old Navalny was losing a kilogramme a day.
White House ‘disturbed’
Taking to Twitter, Kobzev said Navalny felt pain when he walked and was now also feeling a numbness in his hands in addition to back pain and a loss of sensation in his legs.
“It’s clear that his illness is getting worse.”
In Washington, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said: “We are disturbed by reports that Mr Navalny’s health is worsening.”
Psaki added that Washington considers Navalny’s imprisonment “politically motivated and a gross injustice.”
Russia’s treatment of Navalny is one of many sticking points between the new Biden administration and the Kremlin, along with concerns about Moscow’s actions in Ukraine, alleged interference in US elections and purported bounties on US troops in Afghanistan…..read more