The health of Russian opposition leader Navalny worsens in prison

MOSCOW (AP) – Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny suffered back pain and leg problems in prison, his lawyer said on Thursday.

The lawyer, Olga Volkova, said that Navalny’s condition has worsened noticeably in recent days.

“He is suffering severe pain in his back and his right leg. He is feeling numb in his right leg, ”said Volkova outside the prison in comments broadcast on independent TV Dozhd. “Your right leg is in bad shape.”

Navalny, 44, is the most outspoken opponent of President Vladimir Putin, was arrested on January 17 on his return from Germany, where he spent five months recovering from a nervous agent poisoning he attributes to the Kremlin. Russian authorities rejected the charge.

Volkova said Navalny was taken to a hospital outside the prison on Wednesday for an MRI scan, but did not receive the results. She said Navalny was given pain pills and ointments, but prison officials refused to accept the drugs the lawyers brought him.

Volkova said Navalny had been suffering from back pain for four weeks, but prison officials also refused to allow his doctor to visit. The lawyer argued that the authorities should transfer Navalny to Moscow so that he could receive better treatment.

Earlier this month, Navalny was transferred to a prison colony in Pokrov, in the Vladimir region, 85 kilometers (53 miles) east of Moscow. The facility stands out among Russian prisons for its particularly strict regime, which includes routines such as standing at attention for hours.

The Russian Federal Prison Service said on Thursday that Navalny had undergone medical examinations the day before, describing his condition as “stable and satisfactory”.

Last month, Navalny was sentenced to two and a half years in prison for violating the terms of his probation during a convalescence in Germany. The sentence stems from a 2014 conviction for embezzlement that Navalny rejected as forged – and which the European Court of Human Rights found to be illegal.

Russian authorities rejected the demands of the United States and the European Union to free Navalny and prevent repression of his supporters.