Jailed Kremlin Critic Navalny Suffers Back Pain, Lawyer Says

Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny is suffering back pain at a notorious prison where he’s been held since mid-March, his lawyer said.

Navalny, who survived a near-fatal chemical poisoning in August last year that he and Western governments blamed on the Kremlin, said at a meeting with counsel Tuesday that previous back problems had worsened and he was suffering leg pain and numbness, Vadim Kobzev said.

Prison authorities didn’t allow lawyers to see him on Wednesday, he said. Navalny allies said they suspected he was transferred to the prison hospital, but there was no immediate confirmation of that. Authorities had given him a pain reliever, they said.

The regional Penitentiary Service said Navalny had been examined with other inmates with health complaints on Wednesday and found to be in “stable, satisfactory” condition, state-run Tass reported. Lawyers returned to the prison seeking to see him Thursday, allies said.

Navalny, 44, is being held at a penal colony in the Vladimir region about 100 kilometers (60 miles) east of Moscow, a detention center known for its particularly harsh regime. He’s serving a 2 1/2 year sentence for violating probation terms of an earlier suspended fraud sentence while recuperating from the nerve-agent attack in Germany.

His supporters have called for a day of rallies across Russia this spring. Nationwide protests in January petered out after a major crackdown that led to thousands of arrests. Navalny’s allies say more than 200,000 anonymous entries have pledged to take part in the new demonstrations calling for his release, out of a targeted 500,000.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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