170 Russian doctors concerned about Navalni’s health demand that Putin “end the abuses” against the opponent | International

Russian opponent Alexei Navalni has been locked up 10 times in a punishment cell since he was transferred to the IK-6 strict regime prison in summer. The last one, on December 31, just before New Years, was her punishment for having washed her face half an hour before his shift. His lawyer assures that he does not receive medicines and that he shares a cell with another sick prisoner. A group of 170 doctors has addressed the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, with the risk that this entails, through an open letter to demand that all necessary health care be provided to the activist.

The opponent’s condition worries some doctors. “Our job is to heal people and alleviate their suffering. We cannot and we do not have the right to look with indifference at the deliberate damage to the health of the politician Alexéi Navalni”, says the letter that the doctors Alexander Polupan and Alexander Vaniukov have published on Facebook. Another 168 signatures accompanied the letter released on Tuesday in independent media such as jellyfish.

“The conditions of his detention and the physical appearance of Alexéi Navalni cause us great concern for his life and his health,” adds the letter, which recalls that health care is a right enshrined in the Constitution and that “the refusal of the authorities of the Federal Penitentiary Service to allow the medicines to reach him creates a threat to his life”.

“We demand an end to the abuses against Alexéi Navalni; we demand that they stop sending him to the punishment cell; We demand that some civilian doctors be able to see him and, if there is evidence, that he be hospitalized in a medical center ”, the letter concludes.

Navalni’s access to his family is extremely restricted as he is held under a strict regime, and he only enjoys an hour and a half out of his cell every day. His lawyer, Vadim Kobzev, is his link with the outside world, and has denounced through Twitter that his client is sick, but the authorities do not allow him to receive medicine. “Unfortunately, the bacteriological weapon worked,” lamented the lawyer, referring to a cellmate who, according to the activist, could have been used by the prison officials to infect him with the flu. “Navalni is in the cell with fever and cough. We are trying to get him medicines, ”he adds.

“So my plans for a fancy New Year were ruined. I had a packet of chips and a can of mackerel, ”Navalni ironized on social networks thanks to the support of his team, which manages his channels in his absence. According to the activist, who on Tuesday had served 722 days in jail, on the last day of the year a prison commission met to pass sentence for his latest challenge against the system: “A video surveillance operator has recorded that you washed your face at 05.24 [horas] in the morning, when, according to your schedule, you get up at 05.00 and wash at 06.00. Given the seriousness of the violation, you will be sent to a punishment cell for a maximum period of 15 days.”

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“Bacteriological weapon”

The opponent shares a dungeon “with two old friends” whom he nicknames “Psychopath” and “Vagabundo”. According to his account, the latter was taken out of his cell for just one day, between January 3 and 4, “but not to be taken to the barracks, like everyone else, but rather he was declared sick and transferred to the unit medical, full of people infected with the flu.” “There is an epidemic here and exactly one day later they brought him back to the cell. It seems that they use it as a bacteriological weapon”, denounced the opponent.

Despite the harsh conditions he faces in prison, where it is visible that he has lost a lot of weight, as can be seen in his judicial interventions by videoconference, Navalni has not lost his sense of humor. “The lights go out here at 9:00 p.m., so for the first time in six years I slept through New Year’s Eve. I am happy: people pay money to celebrate the New Year in an unusual way, and I did it for free, ”the activist ironized in his message.

The activist was transferred in the summer from the general regime prison in the city of Pokrov – where he was being held – to a strict regime prison in Melejovo, about 240 kilometers from Moscow.

The politician faces jail terms of more than a decade for several cases open against him. He was first arrested upon returning to Moscow in January 2021 for violating probation when he was hospitalized in a coma in Germany after being poisoned with Novichok, a substance that was found by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) and whose origin he points out. to the Kremlin, according to Western intelligence services. The Russian justice considered that the opponent had to comply with the terms of probation, despite almost dying of poisoning, by the Yves Rocher case that the European Court of Human Rights had considered an “arbitrary process”.

Months later, in March of this year, Navalni received another nine-year sentence on charges of enriching himself through his Platform against Corruption, the organization with which he investigates the hidden heritage of the Russian elite. The activist assured that that trial was a trap, since the complaints came from four suspicious donors who had contributed large sums of money, and revealed an alleged recording delivered by one of the witnesses in which he received instructions from the Investigation Committee for the trial. . His evidence did not prevent him, however, from being transferred to the IK-6 prison, a notorious prison that in recent years has been the subject of several accusations of torture.

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