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Alexey Navalny lost eight kilograms in prison before his hunger strike began

Since he’s been imprisoned in Pokrov’s Penal Colony No. 2, Russian opposition politician Alexey Navalny has lost eight kilograms (about 17.6 pounds). This was reported on his Telegram channel on Thursday, April 1 — the day after he declared a hunger strike.  

“All prisoners on hunger strike are supposed to be weighed. Navalny was also weighed. According to the documents, he was 93 kilograms [205 pounds] [when] he arrived at the colony, now he’s 85 kilograms [187 pounds]. That is to say, minus eight kilograms before the hunger strike. He himself connects this weight loss primarily to the fact that he’s not allowed to sleep and is woken up eight times a night.”

According to the Telegram post, “the doctor still isn’t allowed to see him [Navalny], there’s no diagnosis in his medical record, [and] there’s no doctor’s opinion.” However, the post goes on to say that RT news anchor Maria Butina was allowed inside the penal colony on Thursday.

“She shouted that this is the best and most comfortable prison. Navalny lectured her for 15 minutes in front of a line of inmates, calling her a parasite and a servant of the power of thieves. After that, Butina went to record interviews with activists who will tell her how good everything is.”

Maria Butina was arrested in the United States in 2018 on charges of conspiracy against the U.S. and promoting Russian state interests as an unregistered “foreign agent.” She was sentenced to 18 months in prison, but was released in October 2019. She subsequently returned to Russia, where she took a job with the state-controlled television channel RT (Russia Today).

Commenting on Navalny’s case on March 31, Butina wrote on Telegram that the opposition politician is imprisoned in “one of the best [penal] colonies in Russia.” Previously, she told Ria Novosti that she was woken up for checks every 15 minutes when she was in prison in the United States.

Alexey Navalny, who is serving a 2.5 year prison sentence, was transferred to Pokrov’s Penal Colony No. 2 on March 12. During his first two weeks in custody there, he received six reprimands.

At the beginning of last week, Navalny and his lawyers reported that his health had deteriorated in prison. The opposition politician has been experiencing pain in his back and legs, and has complained about being denied medical treatment. Navalny has also complained about “torture by insomnia” — apparently prison staff wake him up for checks every hour during the night, allegedly due to the fact that he has been deemed a “flight risk.”

Navalny announced his hunger strike on March 31, promising to continue it until his doctor is allowed to see him. Navalny’s associates have underscored that he has always considered hunger strikes an extreme measure. Prison officials maintain that Navalny is receiving all the medical care he needs. The Kremlin has declined to comment on the opposition politician’s hunger strike.

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