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Alexey Navalny speaks out about the health problems he’s experiencing in prison

Opposition politician Alexey Navalny has released a statement on social media about the health problems he’s experiencing while in custody in Penal Colony No. 2 (IK-2) in Pokrov. 

In a statement posted online on his behalf, Navalny said that he started experiencing back pain some time ago. Presumably, he says, he “pinched a nerve from the constant sitting in police vans and being scrunched up in [confined spaces].” 

“I kept quiet about this. It’s unpleasant, of course, but it’s not fatal — it will be cured. But they aren’t treating [it]. When we were being transferred, I got worried and started to write every day: Hello, it hurts a lot. Let the doctor in here or give me medicine. They aren’t giving [me any]. And even getting out of bed is difficult and very painful. They take the complaints, but nothing is done. A week ago a prison doctor looked at me and began giving me two ibuprofen pills, but I still don’t know the diagnosis.”

According to Navalny, the pain has spread to his leg “and whole parts of it have lost feeling.”

Navalny also underscored that having their health problems ignored is a common experience among inmates in Russian prisons. “Once Mikhail Khodorkovsky, who served 10 years in prison, told me: the main thing is not to get sick there. Nobody will treat you. If you get seriously ill, you will die,” he wrote.

This is the third social media post uploaded on Navalny’s behalf since he has been in custody in the penal colony in Pokrov. The other two posts appeared on March 15 and 22; they didn’t contain any mention of Navalny’s health.

Navalny’s deteriorating health first became known on March 24, when it was reported by his lawyers. The next day, his attorney Olga Mikhailova described his condition as “extremely unfavorable” and underscored that Navalny’s doctor hasn’t been allowed to see him, despite their requests.

On March 25, two of Navalny’s requests to the head of the prison colony and the director of the Federal Penitentiary Service (FSIN) were published online. In these appeals, Navalny complained about the lack of medical assistance, as well as “torture by insomnia” — due to the fact that the opposition politician has been deemed a “flight risk,” prison staff wake him up for checks every hour during the night. 

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