MOSCOW (AP) – A lawyer for jailed Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, who has complained of severe back and leg pain, says doctors have diagnosed him with two spinal hernias.
On Wednesday, Vadim Kobz told Interfax news agency that Navalny had a protruding spine and was beginning to lose sensation in his hands.
Last week, Navalny went on a hunger strike to protest what he called poor medical care in a Russian prison. The leader of the Navalny-backed Doctors’ Alliance was arrested by police on Tuesday after he tried to enter a jail to talk to doctors.
Navalny, 44, is a staunch opponent of Russian President Vladimir Putin. He was arrested in January after returning to Moscow from Germany, where he recovered five months after being poisoned by a nerve agent he blamed on the Kremlin. Russian authorities have denied the allegations. Laboratories in Germany and elsewhere in Europe have confirmed that Navalny was poisoned by the Soviet-era Novichok nerve agent.
A Russian court in February sentenced Navalny to two-and-a-half years in prison for violating probation, including while restoring his life in Germany in 2014. From the verdict of embezzlement. Navalny dismissed the conviction as fabricated, and the European Court of Human Rights ruled it “arbitrary and manifestly ill-founded”.
Authorities last month transferred Navalny from a Moscow prison to the IK-2 penitentiary in the Vladimir region, 85 kilometers (53 miles) east of the Russian capital. The facility in the city of Pokrov stands out in Russia’s penitentiaries with its strict regime, which includes being in the spotlight for hours.
Within weeks of his imprisonment, Navalny said he had severe back and leg pain and was effectively deprived of sleep because a guard checked on him every night. He went on a hunger strike on March 31, demanding proper medication and a visit to his doctor.
Russia’s state penitentiary service says Navalny is receiving all the medical treatment he needs.
Another Navalny lawyer, Olga Mikhailova, said a neurologist consulted by Navalny’s organization said the prison treatment was ineffective.
In an Instagram post on Monday, Navalny said three of his 15 people had been diagnosed with tuberculosis, an infectious disease that spreads through the air. He said he had a strong cough and fever at 38.1 degrees (100.6 F).
The State Penitentiary Service said Monday that Navalny had been in the prison’s sanitation unit after an examination revealed he had “signs of a respiratory illness, including a high fever.”
On Wednesday, Mikhailova said Navalny’s fever had subsided, but she was still coughing and weak from hunger strike.