Thursday, October 28

Jailed Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny ends hunger strike | Alexei Navalny


Alexei Navalny has said that he is ending his hunger strike after receiving medical attention and has been warned by his doctors that continuing it could endanger his life.

In an Instagram post on Friday afternoon, the 24th of his hunger strike, the jailed Russian opposition leader said he would continue to demand a visit from his doctor to address the loss of sensation in his legs and arms, his main demand to the launch your hunger strike.

But he said he would stop refusing food after being examined by doctors who are not in prison.

“Thanks to the great support of good people across the country and around the world, we have made great progress,” Navalny said in his message.

The 44-year-old politician, who was arrested this year and is serving a two-and-a-half-year sentence, went on a hunger strike on March 31 to protest against the prison authorities’ refusal to allow his doctors to visit after he developed severe back pain and numbness in the legs.

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Who is Alexei Navalny?

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Born in 1976 outside Moscow, Alexei Navalny is a lawyer-turned-activist whose Anti-corruption Foundation investigates the wealth of Vladimir Putin’s inner circle.

He started out as a Russian nationalist, but emerged as the main leader of Russia’s democratic opposition during the wave of protests that led to the 2012 presidential elections, and has since been a thorn in the side of the Kremlin.

Navalny is banned from appearing on state television, but has used social media to his advantage. A 2017 documentary accusing Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev of corruption received more than 30 million views on YouTube in two months.

He has been repeatedly arrested and imprisoned. The European human rights court ruled that Russia violated Navalny’s rights by keeping him under house arrest in 2014. Election officials barred him from running for president in 2018 due to a conviction for embezzlement that he said was politically motivated. Navalny told the commission that his decision would be a vote ‘not against me, but against the 16,000 people who have nominated me; against 200,000 volunteers who have been campaigning for me. ‘

There has also been a physical price to pay. In April 2017, he was attacked with a green tint that nearly blinded him in one eye, and in July 2019 he was taken from jail to hospital with symptoms that one of his doctors said could indicate poisoning. In 2020, he was hospitalized again after suspected poisoning and taken to Germany for treatment. The German government later said that toxicology results showed Navalny was poisoned with a Novichok nerve agent.

Navalny was sent to prison again in February 2021, sentenced to two years and eight months, in a move that sparked marches in Moscow and the arrest of more than 1,000 protesters. In April he was described as “seriously ill” in prison.

Photograph: Pavel Golovkin / AP

Officials insisted that Navalny was receiving the medical help he needed, but Navalny said that, in fact, he had not received any treatment.

On Wednesday night, a new round of massive protests demanding his freedom swept across Russia. A senior adviser said the protests on Wednesday night appeared to have prompted a commitment from the Russian authorities to get Navalny the medical help he had demanded when starting the hunger strike.

Navalny, who is President Vladimir Putin’s best-known critic, was arrested in January upon his return from Germany, where he had spent five months recovering from a nerve agent poisoning that blames the Kremlin, accusations Russian officials reject.


www.theguardian.com

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