Navalny aides voice fears for his health after prison faint

  • World
  • Saturday, 09 Dec 2023

FILE PHOTO: Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny is seen on a screen via video link from the IK-2 corrective penal colony in Pokrov before a court hearing to consider an appeal against his prison sentence, in Moscow, Russia May 17, 2022. REUTERS/Evgenia Novozhenina/File Photo

(Reuters) - Aides to jailed Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny said on Friday they were seriously worried about his health and had been unable to contact him for three days.

Navalny, 47, is imprisoned in a penal colony east of Moscow and has been sentenced to a total of more 30 years on what he says are trumped-up charges to silence his criticism of President Vladimir Putin.

His aides said Navalny's lawyers had stood all day outside the colony but been refused entry to see him, and he did not appear at scheduled judicial hearings about his case.

"We have learned that last week he had a serious health-related incident. Navalny's life is at great risk. He is in complete isolation right now," Maria Pevchikh, chair of Navalny's Anti-Corruption Foundation, posted on social media platform X.

Navalny's spokesperson Kira Yarmysh said prison staff had put him on a drip last week after he suffered a dizzy spell and lay down on the floor of his cell in what she said looked like a "hunger faint".

"Now it's the third day that we don't know where he is. Before that, there were at least occasional letters from him, albeit censored ones, but there have been no letters all week," she wrote on X.

Navalny has long-term health issues, having survived being poisoned with a nerve agent in Siberia in 2020. The Kremlin denied trying to kill him and refuses to comment on his case, saying he is treated like any other prisoner.

(Reporting by Mark Trevelyan; editing by Jonathan Oatis)

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