Russian opposition leader and Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny is ‘seriously ill’, says his lawyer.
His lawyer made this statement after reports emerged that Navalny had been transferred to a prison sick ward for a respiratory illness.
Navalny, 44, was tested for the coronavirus on Monday after exhibiting symptoms of a respiratory illness, the federal prison service said.
Navalny declared a hunger strike last week, demanding proper medical care for his severe back pain and leg numbness.
Agnes Callamard, Amnesty International’s secretary general, said on Monday that she had written to Vladimir Putin about the ‘arbitrary arrest and deteriorating health condition’ of Navalny.
In a tweet on Monday Callamard said that ‘There is a real prospect that Russia is subjecting him to a slow death He must be given immediate access to a doctor he trusts and he must be freed.’
Callamard further said that Navalny’s condition requires ‘specialised care.’
Speaking to Al Jazeera, Rachel Denber, deputy director of the Europe and Central Asia division of Human Rights Watch said: ‘There are multiple reports that Alexei Navalny has a bad cough and a high temperature , and that he is being treated for a severe respiratory illness. These reports are alarming, especially in light of the risks of Covid and tuberculosis.’
‘There are grounds for concern that he won’t get the treatment that he needs, but moreover, Alexei Navalny should never have been imprisoned in the first place. His imprisonment is blatantly politically motivated and monstrously unjust’ said Denber.
Amnesty’s Regional Director for Eastern Europe Marie Struthers said to Al Jazeera: ‘The Russian government systematically crushes all opposition and dissent. Navalny’s colleagues have also been targeted. Other political opponents have been disqualified from elections or arrested, and countless political activists have been detained.’
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