Russia’s Alexey Navalny ‘is dying’ in prison

Doctors for the jailed Russian opposition activist Alexei Navalny say he “will die within the next few days” if not given medical attention. Doctors say recent blood test results indicate he could suffer cardiac arrest or kidney failure at any moment. Navalny has been on a hunger strike for 19 days, to demand proper treatment for acute back pain and leg numbness.

A prominent critic of President Vladimir Putin, Mr Navalny was jailed in February for old embezzlement charges. Navalny’s allies are calling for mass protests next week, saying if the Kremlin is not forced to give Navalny medical care, he will die. His personal physicians have not been allowed to see him in prison. In a message calling for the protests, his team said Navalny’s life is now “hanging by a hair” and accused the Kremlin of “killing Navalny for a second time before the eyes of all Russia.” Since Friday, his team has been sounding the alarm that Navalny’s health is rapidly declining and warning that the threat to his life is now as serious as when he was poisoned last August. The doctors have urged prison officials to let them examine Navalny immediately, “taking into account the blood tests and his recent poisoning”.

Mr Navalny, 44, nearly died in August 2020 when he was poisoned with the chemical nerve agent, Novichock. He accuses President Vladimir Putin of ordering the poisoning, which the Kremlin denies.