Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny is reportedly staging a hunger strike to protest the Russian government’s failure to provide proper treatment for his ailing health. Navalny, who is currently imprisoned at a Russian prison, is struggling with back and leg pain.
Navalny posted details of his hunger strike on Instagram, where he complained about prison officials’ refusal to provide him with proper treatment or allow his doctor to visit him. He also protested the hourly wakeup checks that he describes as deprivation torture.
Navalny, 44, is regarded as Russian President Vladimir Putin’s most outspoken political opponent. He was arrested in January following his return from Germany, where he was recovering from nerve agent poisoning. He blames the Kremlin for poisoning him, an accusation that the Russians strongly reject.
The opposition leader said that the poisoning he experienced could be the cause of his ailing health, and told his audience on Instagram that he had no choice but to stage the hunger strike because he feared the possibility that the pains he is currently experiencing are worsening and spreading throughout his body. He stated that he began having back pains, which have since spread to his right leg and caused numbness in his left leg.
“What else could I do?” he wrote. “I have declared a hunger strike demanding that they allow a visit by an invited doctor in compliance with the law. So I’m lying here, hungry, but still with two legs.”
“Every convict has the right to invite a specialist for a check and consultation,” he wrote in the Instagram post. “So I demand to let a doctor see me and declare a hunger strike until it happens.”
“Instead of medical assistance, I’m subjected to sleep deprivation torture, being woken up eight times every night,” he added.