Lawyer: Russian opposition leader Navalny has a double weight


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A lawyer for imprisoned Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, who complained in custody of severe back and leg pain, says doctors have determined he suffers from a double hernia

MOSCOW – The lawyer of the imprisoned Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, who complained in detention about serious back and leg pain, says that the doctors determined that he was suffering from a double hernia.

Olga Mikhailova told the independent TV channel Dozhd on Wednesday that Navalny was also starting to lose the sensation in her hands.

Navalny went on a hunger strike last week to protest what he said was poor health care. On Tuesday, the leader of the Navalny-supported Doctors’ Union union was detained by police after trying to enter the jail to talk to doctors.

A Russian court ordered Navalny in February to serve 2 1/2 years in prison for violating probation, including the time of convalescence in Germany, from a 2014 conviction for embezzlement. Navalny dismissed the conviction as fabricated, and the European Court of Human Rights found it “arbitrary and manifestly unreasonable.”

Authorities transferred Navalny from a Moscow prison to the IK-2 penal colony in the Vladimir region, 85 kilometers (53 miles) east of the Russian capital, last month. The facility in the city of Pokrov stands out among Russian penitentiaries for its particularly strict prison routines, which include standing for hours.

Within weeks of jail, Navalny said he developed severe back and leg pain and was actually denied sleep because a guard monitored him for hours at night. He went on a hunger strike on March 31, demanding access to appropriate medication and a visit to his doctor.

Russia’s state penal service said Navalny was receiving all the medical help he needed.

Mikhailova did not specify where Navalny’s hernias were, but said one of them was difficult to treat and that a neurologist contacted by Navalny’s organization said the treatment prescribed in prison was ineffective.

In an Instagram post Monday, Navalny said three of the 15 people housed were diagnosed with tuberculosis, a contagious disease that spreads through the air. He said he had a strong cough and fever with a temperature of 38.1 degrees Celsius.

On Monday, the state penal service said Navalny was a prison sanitary unit after an examination found he had “signs of respiratory illness, including high fever.”

Mikhailova said on Wednesday that Navalny had a fever, but he was still coughing and weak from the hunger strike.

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