Doctors Reportedly Prevented From Seeing Putin Critic Alexei Navalny In Prison Clinic
Multiple doctors were reportedly prevented from seeing Putin critic Alexei Navalny at a prison hospital during his three-week hunger strike.
On Sunday, April 19, Navalny – an outspoken critic of the Russian president – was transferred from a penal colony east of Moscow to a hospital unit at a prison in the city of Vladimir, located 180 kilometres (110 miles) east of the Russian capital.
The transfer took place after his lawyers and associates said his condition had drastically declined, having reportedly lost about 44 pounds and experiencing difficulty speaking and sitting. However, his personal physician Dr. Anastasia Vasilyeva, along with three other medical experts, were denied entry when they tried to visit Navalny at the prison clinic and the IK-3 prison in Vladimir. Vasilyeva called it ‘a show of disrespect and mockery of the doctors,’ saying Navalny’s ‘life and health are clearly in danger’.
In a recent Instagram post, Navalny described the gruelling seven hour search he was subjected to prior to his transfer, and also spoke of his worrying condition, remarking, ‘this weekend was pretty bad, I won’t lie’.
You would laugh if you see me now — a skeleton staggers around his cell. They can use me to scare children who refuse to eat: ‘If you don’t eat porridge, you will be like that man with big ears, shaven head and hollow eyes’.
A lawyer who was admitted to see Navalny briefly told BBC News that he was ‘really thin, weak and clearly in a bad way’, but was still able to walk. Though a lawyer who visited him this week, Olga Mikhailovna, told AP News Navalny looked ‘extremely exhausted,’ asdding: ‘He’s very thin, he must have lost about 20 kilograms (44 pounds). He is very weak and appears to have difficulty speaking and sitting.’
A doctor, Alexander Polupan, has also informed BBC News that, if Navalny’s recent test results are accurate, then his condition is ‘life threatening’ and he will need immediate medical treatment.
Navalny began asking for a trusted doctor, rather than a prison medic, after reportedly suffering acute back pain and numbness in his limbs some weeks back. However, the prison service refused his request, prompting Navalny to launch his hunger strike.
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Anastasia Vasilyeva, Navalny’s personal doctor, said:
We, the doctors, are ready to act. The question remaining is whether the penal colony is willing to cooperate to save the life of Navalny.
Navalny was detained soon after returning to Russia in January following treatment for nerve agent poisoning in Siberia last year. He was subsequently jailed, accused of violating the terms of a court conviction widely regarded to be politically motivated.
Reports of Navalny’s deteriorating condition have sparked outrage across the world, however the Kremlin has reportedly dismissed such statements of concern as being ‘unacceptable’, and is now refusing to comment on ‘this situation, this convict’.
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