Police detain doctors outside Navalny’s prison demanding access to medical aid


Doctors demanding Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny be given proper medical treatment were detained on Tuesday outside the penal colony in which he is now being held.

Reuters reported that Anastasiya Vasilyeva, who is an ally of Navalny and leads a doctors' union, was detained after she was turned away from the prison, where she said she had an appointment with a senior prison official and that she wanted to see Navalny to check on his health.

Navalny said in an Instagram post Wednesday that prison authorities have tried to undermine his hunger strike by allowing aromatic chicken to be cooked in his unit's kitchen, a departure from regulations, and by placing candies in his clothes pockets.

Nine people including several doctors in white coats were briefly detained outside the prison for "disturbing public order", according to the local police.

He was arrested in January upon his return from Germany, where he spent five months recovering from a nerve-agent poisoning that he blames on the Kremlin. Russian authorities have rejected the accusation.

The Moscow court - which imposed the fine - said on its Telegram channel TikTok was found guilty of failing to remove information that violates Russian law and sentenced to an administrative fine of 2.6 million rubles, or approximately Rs5.2 million. He went on a hunger strike on March 31, demanding access to proper medication and a visit from his doctor. Navalny's attorney, Olga Mikhailova, told the independent Dozhd TV on Monday that he has lost 13 kilograms (nearly 29 pounds) in three weeks.

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The Levada Center polling agency said 48% of Russian respondents consider Navalny's sentence of two and a half years in one of the country's most notorious penal colonies to be fair.

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Russia's state penitentiary service has said that Navalny is receiving all the medical help he needs. Mikhailova provided an update this week on her client's health problems.

Earlier this week, Navalny, 44, was moved to a sick ward in the prison in the town of Pokrov with symptoms of a respiratory illness. He said he had a strong cough and a fever with a temperature of 38.1 degrees Celsius (100.6 F).

Navalny recently announced a hunger strike to process a lack of medical care in the facility.

Navalny has reportedly been tested for COVID-19 but it's not clear if the results have come back or if he tested positive.