Navalny supporters detained

Two women stand next to a graffiti of Alexei Navalny by Eva Busevich, April 6, 2021. (Photo: AFP)
Russian police on Tuesday detained supporters of Alexei Navalny outside his penal colony east of Moscow after they were denied access to the jailed Kremlin critic, who is on hunger strike demanding proper medical treatment.اضافة اعلان

Among those detained was Anastasia Vasilyeva, Navalny’s personal doctor and head of the Alliance of Doctors medical trade union which is critical of the government, according to the group and AFP journalists at the scene.

Her lawyer later said that she was returning to Moscow, although it was unclear whether she had been officially released.

Meanwhile a CNN journalist was also detained before being released several hours later, he said on Twitter.

Police in the Vladimir region where Navalny’s penal colony is located said in a statement that nine people were detained for violating “public order”.

They said that around 45 people had gathered at the colony, including some 30 journalists and bloggers.

Supporters of the 44-year-old opposition politician, including several doctors in white medical coats, arrived at the town of Pokrov around 100 kilometers east of Moscow earlier Tuesday to demand access to Navalny, but were rebuffed. 

Navalny went on hunger strike last Wednesday to demand proper medical treatment for severe back pain and numbness in both legs, saying he had only been given painkillers. 

On Monday, President Vladimir Putin’s most vocal critic said he was now also suffering from a heavy cough and fever and that three people from his prison unit had been hospitalized with tuberculosis.

Later Monday, pro-Kremlin newspaper Izvestia cited the local branch of Russia’s FSIN prison service in reporting that Navalny had been transferred to the colony infirmary and tested for the COVID-19. The FSIN declined to comment on Tuesday. 

Navalny, who survived a near-fatal poisoning last August, has lost a total of 13 kilograms in the penal colony, including five kilograms over the past week, his lawyer Olga Mikhailova said.

Navalny’s doctor Vasilyeva accused authorities of violating his rights by refusing to treat him properly.

“We are doctors — that’s why we are here today. Health should be a priority,” she told reporters outside the penal colony, stressing that Navalny must be transferred to a “normal” hospital.