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Russian opposition figure Navalny sent to prison medical ward after inspections find symptoms of respiratory infection

Russian opposition figure Navalny sent to prison medical ward after inspections find symptoms of respiratory infection
Jailed Russian opposition figure Alexey Navalny has been transferred to a prison medical unit after showing symptoms of an acute respiratory infection, including a high temperature, according to the Federal Penitentiary Service.

In a statement reported by Moscow daily Izvestia, the prison authorities revealed that Navalny is now under the supervision of medical staff and has undergone all necessary tests, including one for Covid-19. The activist is currently in Corrective Colony No. 2 (IK-2) in Pokrov, a town in the Vladimir Region, not far from Moscow.

In an Instagram post on Navalny’s official account, it was claimed that a medical examination revealed he had a temperature of 38.1 degrees (100.5°F) with a severe cough, and said that three of those in his 15-man cell are suffering from tuberculosis.

The opposition figure is currently serving a term of two years and eight months in jail for breaking the conditions of a suspended sentence handed to him in 2014, when he was found guilty of embezzling 30 million rubles ($400,000) from two companies, including the French cosmetics brand Yves Rocher. Sentenced in February, he is two months into his prison stretch.

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In the last two weeks, Navalny has been complaining about his treatment in prison and his alleged deteriorating health. The opposition figure has complained about not receiving medical care and being refused to see a doctor of his own choosing. However, it has emerged that he was given an MRI scan, and it is not established practice in Russia for prisoners to bring their personal doctors into jail.

According to his lawyer, Olga Mikhailova, his back is in severe pain and one of his legs is “almost incapacitated.” In response, prison officials described his health as “stable and satisfactory.”

Navalny claims he is currently staging a hunger strike to protest his prison conditions and says he will not eat until he is allowed to see a medical professional he has personally chosen.

On Tuesday afternoon, outside his prison in Pokrov, a group of his supporters gathered to push for the opposition figure to receive the medical help he has asked for. Led by Anastasia Vasilyeva, an ophthalmologist who once treated the activist and now runs the Navalny-linked Doctors Alliance, pictures seem to suggest that the protest drew more police and journalists than demonstrators. Doctors Alliance has been designated as a foreign agent in Russia.

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