UPDATED 12:40 PM PT – Wednesday, March 31, 2021
In response to the poor conditions of his detention, Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny has declared a hunger strike in prison.
In an Instagram post on Wednesday, Navalny said prison administrators have been denying him medical treatment after he developed severe pain in his spine and right leg. The opposition leader explained he had to declare a hunger strike to change that situation.
.@navalny declares hunger strike as near-last resort to prison services (i.e. Kremlin's) refusal to provide him with access to healthcare, against backdrop of intensifying pain and neurological symptoms in both his legs. pic.twitter.com/B2xmAgiy37
— Christo Grozev (@christogrozev) March 31, 2021
Earlier this week, a group of more than 20 Russian doctors signed an open letter calling on the Kremlin to release Navalny, saying he needs medical help. The doctors have criticized the inhumane conditions in that prison.
“You, those in whose hands the life and destiny of Alexey Navalny is. Please do not prevent him from receiving medical assistance. I, the people around and the whole world is now following the situation with Alexey Navalny, we are watching your activities,” Dr. Vadim Bondar said. “Trust me no one likes what you’re doing, and your actions may play against you in the future.”
The opposition leader said prison guards are always monitoring him and sometimes depriving him of sleep at night, amounting to torture.
Navalny’s legal team has demanded his unconditional release.