Navalny could 'die any minute' amid prison hunger strike - doctors

Brenda Watkins
April 18, 2021

A doctor for imprisoned Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, who is in the third week of a hunger strike, says his health is deteriorating rapidly and the 44-year-old Kremlin critic could be on the verge of death.

Figures including author J.K. Rowling, actors Benedict Cumberbatch and David Duchovny called on Putin to offer Navalny, who is now on a hunger strike, immediate medical treatment.

The opposition's 44-year-old personal doctor, Anastasia Vasilieva, and three other doctors, including a cardiologist, asked to see Navalny immediately, according to a letter to the Russian Prison Administration posted on Vasilieva's Twitter account Saturday.

Doctors for jailed Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny said he could die imminently unless he receives medical treatment.

'Fatal arrhythmia can develop any minute'.

"This means both impaired renal function and that serious heart rhythm problems can happen any minute", it added.

Navalny's lawyer said he missed the meetings because he was in Germany while he recovered from being poisoned with the Novichok nerve agent.

"Alexei is dying", she wrote on Facebook.

Navalny Could Be Down to a Few Days, Doctors Say

A prominent critic of President Vladimir Putin, he was jailed in February for old embezzlement charges.

His wife Yulia, who visited him earlier this week in prison, confirmed that he now weighs 76 kilograms, nine kilograms less than he was at the start of his hunger strike.

Alexei Navalny, 44, almost died in August 2020 when he was poisoned with the chemical nerve agent, Novichock.

Navalny said on Friday that prison authorities had threatened to put him in a straitjacket to force-feed him unless he abandons his hunger strike. "In his condition, it is a matter of days".

Russia's prisons service said on Tuesday that a panel of doctors assessed Navalny's health as satisfactory and that he was transferred from the clinic back to the main part of the prison on April 9, the RIA news agency quoted it as saying.

More than 70 prominent global writers, artists and academics, including Jude Law, Vanessa Redgrave and Benedict Cumberbatch, have called on Putin to ensure that Navalny receives proper treatment immediately.

Navalny's team had earlier announced plans to stage what they said would be "modern Russia's biggest protest".

As of Sunday, almost 460,000 people had signed up, but Navalny's team announced the protest saying they could not wait any longer.

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