Representative of prison watchdog group accuses Navalny of feigning health problems
The deputy head of a prison watchdog group in the Vladimir Region has accused imprisoned opposition politician Alexey Navalny of faking his health problems.
On Monday, March 29, Vladimir Grigoryan — the deputy head of the Vladimir region’s Public Monitoring Commission (ONK), which oversees the treatment of prisoners — told TV Rain that Navalny’s was feigning health problems and rejected the opposition politician’s complaints about his lack of access to medicines. (TV Rain noted that Grigoryan hasn’t actually visited Navalny in prison).
“I have worked for this FSIN [Federal Penitentiary Service] for nearly 30 years. There might not be [medicines] for you and me but for him there are. [...] I’m telling you, this medicine can’t be obtained for you and me, but for them it’s mandatory. They have separate funding, all of it is separate. And Navalny is feigning more. So don’t worry about him.”
Commenting on Navalny’s complaints, another member of the ONK, Yuri Belokrylin, said that he “doesn’t believe this paperwork” (presumably referring to the petitions filed by Navalny’s lawyers) or Navalny himself.
According to his lawyer Vadim Kobzev, Navalny called the Vladimir region’s ONK “a bunch of crooks and liars who serve the administration of concentration camps.” The lawyer added that Navalny spent “40 minutes telling them [the members of the ONK] in detail about the lack of medical assistance and about a bunch of health complaints.”
Public Monitoring Commission representatives visited Navalny in Pokrov’s Penal Colony No. 2 on Saturday, March 27. According to them, the opposition politician complained of pain in his leg and asked for assistance obtaining a Diclofenac (Voltaren) injection (a drug used to treat pain and inflammation). “No other wishes were expressed,” the commission underscored.
Navalny and his lawyers maintain that his health has deteriorated significantly during his time in prison — he’s experiencing back pain, and pain and numbness in one of his legs. According to Navalny, it’s “difficult and very painful to get out of bed.” Navalny also maintains that the prison administration hasn’t responded to his complaints or his requests to see a civilian specialist (rather than a prison doctor); he also says that the only drug they’ve prescribed him is ibuprofen.