Russia says Alexey Navalny is in “generally good health” after his team voiced concerns

The Russian Federal Prison Service (FSIN) said on Thursday that prisoners in the Vladimir region, where Navalny is being held, received medical tests on Wednesday at the request of the prisoners, according to state media TASS.

Navalny was among those examined and the anti-corruption activist was “generally good and stable in health,” said the FSIN statement.

He has been a perennial thorn in the side of Russian President Vladimir Putin, raising concerns for his security in the country, and the activist almost died after being poisoned with nervous agent Novichok last August.

A joint investigation by CNN and the Bellingcat group involved the Russian Security Service (FSB) in Navalny’s poisoning. Russia denies involvement in the poisoning, but several Western officials and Navalny himself openly blamed the Kremlin. Navalny returned to Russia in January from a five-month stay in Germany, where he was recovering.

Navalny’s legal team told CNN on Wednesday that he had complained of back pain last week and on Tuesday began to feel numbness in one of his legs.

Vadim Kobzev, one of the activist’s lawyers, told CNN that he and his colleague Olga Mikhailova were waiting at penal colony No. 2 in Pokrov, in the Vladimir region, to see Navalny for a pre-scheduled visit on Wednesday.

After a few hours of waiting, they were unable to see him. The pair was informed that the visit had been canceled due to “regime measures”.

“What is behind this, we do not know,” said Kobzev.

“We demand that we be able to see him to find out what his health is. [Last] Friday, he was examined by a neurologist, the diagnosis was never given to him after that. “

The lawyer added: “He received two pills of ibuprofen a day. It all started with his spine, [on Tuesday] he said his leg was starting to go numb. If the leg problems are related to the spine, because I’m not a doctor, I can’t say. “

Navalny’s lawyers said they entered the penal colony on Thursday, but it is unclear whether they will be able to see the activist

Navalny was arrested earlier this year for violating the terms of parole in a 2014 case in which he received a suspended sentence of three and a half years.

A Moscow court took into account the 11 months that Navalny had already spent under house arrest as part of the decision and replaced the rest of the suspended sentence with a prison sentence last month.

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Kobzev emphasized on Wednesday that it is crucial for Navalny’s lawyers to find him to check on his welfare.

“We believe that, firstly, we should see him and, secondly, he needs to be examined by a normal civilian specialist who will make the diagnosis and prescribe the treatment he can undergo,” he said, adding that at least one of the activist’s lawyers sees him every day.

Maria Pevchikh, head of the investigative unit at Navalny’s anti-corruption fund, accessed Twitter to express her concerns about his health.

“This is the first time that Navalny’s lawyers have not been allowed to see him on a scheduled day. Alexey’s exact whereabouts are currently unknown,” she wrote.

“FSIN said that Navalny underwent a medical examination in the colony and his health was considered ‘satisfactory’,” tweeted Navalny’s press secretary, Kira Yarmysh. “In Omsk they said it too,” she added, referring to the time when Navalny was in a coma after his poisoning in 2020.