San Francisco Chronicle
Jailed Putin critic’s health deteriorates
The coarse medical treatment that Alexei Navalny, a Russian opposition leader, is receiving in prison poses a lethal risk to his health, his personal doctor told journalists on Tuesday. The doctor was subsequently arrested, along with several reporters.
Navalny, 44, is the preeminent political opponent of President Vladimir Putin. Navalny survived a poisoning with a military nerve agent last summer that Western governments called an assassination attempt by the Kremlin, which has denied any role.
In January, he voluntarily returned to Russia after receiving treatment in Germany, and was arrested at the airport for a parole violation related to a suspended sentence from 2014. In recent weeks, Navalny has experienced back pain and numbness in his legs, his lawyers say, conditions that they suspect are either lingering symptoms of the poisoning or are the result of a herniated spinal disk.
He is also now nearly a week into a hunger strike over what he describes as prison officials’ failure to provide him with sufficient medical care.
In addition, prison doctors said Monday that Navalny showed signs of a respiratory ailment. They had him moved into an infirmary on the grounds of the penal colony where he is serving a sentence of more than two years.