“Every convict has the right to invite a specialist for a check and consultation,” he wrote. “So I demand to let a doctor see me and declare a hunger strike until it happens.”

Russia’s Federal Penitentiary Service said last week that Navalny had undergone medical check-ups and described his condition as “stable and satisfactory”.

But Navalny complained that authorities only gave him basic painkiller pills and ointment for his back and legs while refusing to accept medications prescribed earlier by his doctor or to share the diagnosis from his examination.

In a note earlier this month, Navalny described his prison as a “friendly concentration camp”. He said he hadn’t seen “even a hint at violence” there but lived under controls that he compared to George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four.

Navalny, whom prison authorities had earlier marked as a flight risk, said he was subject to particularly close oversight, including a guard waking him up every hour at night and filming him to demonstrate he is in the required place.

“Instead of medical assistance, I’m subjected to sleep deprivation torture, being woken up eight times every night,” he said in Wednesday’s statement.

During a video call with Putin on Tuesday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron emphasised the need for Russia to protect Navalny’s health and to respect his rights in compliance with the European Convention on Human Rights, according to Macron’s office.

The Kremlin said in its readout of the call that Putin offered an “objective explanation” in response to questions Merkel and Macron asked about Navalny.

Navalny’s poisoning and conviction have further strained Russia’s ties with the US and the European Union, which sank to post-Cold War lows after Moscow’s 2014 annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea, its meddling in the 2016 US presidential election, hacking attacks and other actions.

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Russian officials have rejected US and EU demands to free Navalny and to stop a police crackdown on his supporters. Moscow also has rebuffed a European Court of Human Rights ruling in favour of his release as “inadmissible” meddling in Russia’s home affairs.

Navalny’s arrest fuelled a series of protests that drew tens of thousands to the streets across Russia. Authorities detained about 11,000 people, many of whom were fined or given jail terms of up to two weeks.

Navalny’s associates have urged Russians to sign up for the next protest to demand his release, promising to set a date for the demonstration when the number of people willing to take part reaches at least 500,000 nationwide.

More than 359,000 have registered since a dedicated website opened on March 23.

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