Russia’s Alexey Navalny “just a horrible skeleton” in 1st court appearance since prison hunger strike

Jailed Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny appeared in court on Thursday for the first time in months, and he looked worse for the wear. Attending a hearing in a Moscow court via video link from a prison compound dozens of miles from the capital, the fierce critic of President Vladimir Putin looked thin after a recent hunger strike.

Last week the 44-year-old politician ended his three-week hunger strike after finally being examined by non-prison doctors after weeks demanding independent medical treatment for a number of complaints. “I am just a horrible skeleton,” the shaven-headed Navalny, appearing gaunt on the screen, told the court in which his wife Yulia sat on Thursday. He said his weight had fallen to around 159 pounds, noting he hadn’t been that light since around the seventh grade. A Moscow court barred Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation (FBK) and his separately run network of regional campaign offices from posting online earlier this week.His allies made their announcement in a YouTube video before a court hearing which was due to consider a request from prosecutors to declare the main pillars of Navalny’s political organisation as extremist. The hearing on Thursday was on Navalny’s appeal of his February conviction on defamation charges for insulting a Russian World War II veteran.