MOSCOW (AP) – Imprisoned Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny has lost a significant amount of weight in custody, his organization said on Thursday, a day after a prominent government critic went on hunger strike to protest what he called poor medical care.
A Telegram message on Navalny on Thursday said he weighed 93 kilograms (204 pounds) when he arrived in prison last month and now weighs 85 kilograms (187 pounds).
The statement said that he blames the weight loss on the strict prison regime, in which he wakes up eight times a day.
Navalny also complains of severe back pain that has spread to one leg and says that the other leg is numb. Prison authorities did not provide adequate medication or allow his doctor to visit him.
Navalny, 44, was arrested shortly after returning from Germany in January after being poisoned by a nerve agent he blamed on the Kremlin after returning from Germany in January. Russian authorities have denied the allegations.
Last month, Navalny was sentenced to 2 1/2 years in prison for violating probation during his recovery in Germany. The verdict follows a 2014 conviction for kidnapping, which Navalny rejected as fabricated, which the European Court of Human Rights ruled illegal.
Navalny was transferred this month from a prison in Moscow to a criminal colony in the Vladimir region, 85 kilometers (50 miles) east of the Russian capital. The IK-2 facility is notable for its strict rules regarding inmates in Russian penitentiaries, which include being in the spotlight for hours.
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Although Navalny’s doctor was unable to see him, his organization said on Thursday that the prison provided an opportunity for a Kremlin-funded RT satellite TV team led by Maria Butina, who had been convicted of an unregistered foreign agent in the United States. United States է served 18 months in prison.
It quoted Butina as saying that the prison was “one of the best and most comfortable areas in Russia”, after which Navalny condemned him as a “parasite” in front of other prisoners.
RT did not immediately respond to a request for comment.