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Opposition politician Violetta Grudina detained following release from forced hospitalization

Murmansk police detained opposition politician Violetta Grudina on the morning of August 2 — immediately after she was released from the medical facility where she was involuntarily hospitalized in mid-July.

Grudina wrote on Telegram that she was tested for COVID-19 on August 1 and discharged from the hospital the next day after her results came back negative.

After arresting Grudina, the police took her to Murmansk’s Oktyabrsky District Court. There, the opposition politician — who has been on hunger strike for eight days — complained of feeling unwell and called herself an ambulance. The paramedics took her to a city hospital, which, after two hours of medical examinations, declined to admit her.

“Despite my poor vitals, they refused to hospitalize me. The doctors received phone calls constantly, they were constantly summoned into the hallway. It was clear that they were being intimate,” Grudina said in a video. 

After the hospital refused to admit her, the opposition politician was taken back to the court for a conversation with the investigator who is handling the criminal case against her for allegedly violating quarantine requirements. If convicted, Grudina faces two years in prison.

Update. Later in the day on Monday, a Murmansk court rejected a petition from the investigator in charge of Grudina’s case seeking to impose preventive measures against her (in particular, a ban on certain activities), Grudina wrote on Telegram. She also said that the authorities have launched a criminal probe against her under “Dadin’s article.”

Violetta Grudina is the former head of Alexey Navalny’s Murmansk campaign office. The authorities opened a criminal case against her on July 9, after she allegedly violated quarantine requirements while recovering from COVID-19. Following a claim from Rospotrebnadzor (Russia’s consumer protection and human well-being agency), a district court ruled in favor of forcibly hospitalizing Grudina pending a negative coronavirus test. 

On July 26, Grudina announced a hunger strike in protest of the hospital administration’s failure to deliver the necessary paperwork to election officials for her nomination for a spot on the ballot in the upcoming City Council elections.

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