Brussels (Brussels Morning) Jailed Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny’s health is rapidly deteriorating in the prison camp near Moscow, according to his lawyers and his chief of staff, dpa reports.
His chief of staff, Leonid Volkov, said Navalny started experiencing severe back pain last week, and has since developed symptoms of paralysis in one leg. According to Volkov, he can no longer walk, yet doctors have only given him two analgesics in total.
His attorney, Olga Mikhailova, confirmed a neurologist had seen Navalny, but had prescribed him nothing more than painkillers, which reportedly did not help. “That’s all his treatment”, Mikhailova told AFP. “I don’t know what’s wrong with him. He should be seen by a proper doctor”.
Mikhailova also claims she was blocked from visiting her client on Wednesday. Volkov believes the authorities could be covering up the fact that he Navalny has been transferred to the infirmary in Pokrow prison, an infamous penal colony once described by the jailed opposition figure as “a concentration camp”.
Head of investigations at Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation Maria Pevchikh said that the “rapid deterioration of his health conditions” was a matter of extreme concern. “We believe that Navalny’s life is in danger and demand immediate access to him for his lawyers”, Pevchikh tweeted.
Navalny was jailed for two-and-a-half years for allegedly breaching the terms of his suspended sentence, which had been dismissed as unfounded and political in nature by the European Court of Human Rights. Despite the ECHR ruling, which forced Russia to compensate Navalny, Moscow insisted on enforcing terms of the suspended sentence.
Navalny was unable to report to prison authorities on schedule since at the time he was in Germany, recovering from poisoning. Western governments maintain the poison was administered by Russian intelligence operatives, in an attempt to silence one of the fiercest critics of President Vladimir Putin and his government.