Russian prison guards are threatening to force-feed jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny nearly two weeks into his hunger strike, his team said Monday via his official Twitter account.
Navalny, 44, announced he was going on hunger strike on March 31 to demand proper medical treatment for severe back pain and leg numbness. The opposition figure’s lawyers said his condition has since worsened, with the numbness spreading to his hands.
“Seeing the hunger strike’s severity, the administration threatens to force-feed him on a daily basis,” Navalny’s Twitter said.
Meanwhile, Navalny has been moved back to his cell from the prison medical ward, where he was sent with a fever and severe cough that he links to a suspected tuberculosis outbreak among his cellmates. He has been unable to see a doctor since, his team tweeted.
Navalny has lost 8 kilograms since the start of his hunger strike and 15 kilograms since entering the prison colony, his team tweeted.
His heart rate is at 106 beats per minute, higher than the normal human heart of 60 to 90 beats per minute, it added.
Navalny is serving a 2.5-year sentence on old fraud charges in a Vladimir region prison colony that has been described as one of Russia’s harshest.
He was jailed upon returning to Russia from Germany, where he spent months recovering from a near-fatal poisoning with what European experts and the global chemical weapons watchdog determined was the Novichok nerve agent.
Last week, Navalny’s personal doctor Anastasia Vasileyeva was detained outside Prison Colony No. 2 during a rally to demand that he be allowed to see an independent doctor.
Navalny Still in Coma, Poisoning Symptoms Receding
Prominent Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny remains in a medically induced coma and on a ventilator more than a week after falling ill from an apparent poisoning but his symptoms appear to be receding, his spokeswoman said Friday as doctors race to identify the substance with which he may have been poisoned.
Navalny, 44, has been receiving treatment in Germany after spending two days in a Siberian hospital where Russian doctors ruled out that the de facto leader of Russia’s opposition was poisoned.
“He’s still in an induced coma and is connected to a ventilator,” Navalny’s spokeswoman Kira Yarmysh said on Twitter.
“His condition is severe but the symptoms of poisoning are receding,” she added.
“There’s currently no serious threat to his life. Still, the doctors aren’t giving any forecasts,” Yarmysh tweeted.
Berlin’s Charité hospital said earlier this week that multiple independent tests indicated that he was poisoned with an unidentified substance belonging to a group of chemicals that affect the nervous system.
Germany’s Der Spiegel news magazine reported that Charité made contact with Bulgarian colleagues over a potential link to the 2015 poisoning of an arms dealer there. On Friday, it reported that Charité sought help from the German army’s secret toxicology lab and the British defense science and technology lab in Porton Down that participated in the 2018 Skripal poisoning investigation.
In a statement on its website Friday, the hospital said it was too early to gauge potential long-term effects “due to the severity of the patient’s poisoning.”