Navalny says prison officials ‘ready to switch to force-feeding’ as his health worsens
Opposition politician Alexey Navalny, who has been on a prison hunger strike for 17 days now, says that prison officials have warned him about his deteriorating health and are “ready to switch to force-feeding.”
In a post published on Navalny’s Instagram on Friday, April 16, Navalny described coming under pressure to give up his hunger strike:
“Life is going in circles remarkably. This morning a female colonel stood over me and said: your blood test indicates serious deterioration in health and risk. If you don’t give up the hunger strike, we are ready to switch to force-feeding now. And then she painted me a picture of the delights of force-feeding. The straitjacket and other joys.”
Navalny added that when confronted by prison officials, he “points to the law” and tells them “don’t force-feed me.” He also reiterates that he has the right to be examined by a trusted doctor — the reason he went on hunger strike in the first place.
Navalny also speculated that he’s being denied access to a trusted physician because “they’re afraid it will turn out that the loss of feeling in my limbs could be linked to my poisoning.”
“The general rule of imprisonment is that to the system, a person is a slave. Especially a political prisoner. He’s always supposed to be denied everything. And if he protests, then it’s better to force-feed him than to comply with legal requirements.”
“My head is spinning a lot, but for now I’m still walking because I feel your support,” Navalny said.
Alexey Navalny has been in custody in Penal Colony No. 2 in Pokrov (Vladimir region) since mid-March. He has been complaining for weeks about being denied medical treatment for pain in his back and numbness in his legs. On March 31, he declared a hunger strike, seeking access to a trusted doctor. The Federal Penitentiary Service has maintained that Navalny is receiving all necessary medical care and that prison doctors have deemed his health “satisfactory.”
Earlier this week, Navalny’s wife said he “speaks with difficulty” and has lost a lot of weight. According to his associates, Navalny has already lost 33 pounds (15 kilograms) while in prison. On April 7, Navalny’s lawyers reported that prison doctors had diagnosed him with two herniated discs.