Russian opponent Navalny threatened with force-feeding, supporters say

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Russian opponent Alexeï Navalny, on hunger strike in his penitentiary since March 31, is threatened with force-feeding by the authorities, his supporters announced on Monday.

• Read also: Russian opponent Navalny has lost 8 kg since arriving in prison camp

• Read also: Despite a fever, Navalny continues his hunger strike

“He weighs 77 kg” for 1m89 “, assured the account @navalny, affirming that the activist had lost eight kilos since the beginning of his action and 15 since his incarceration in February in the prison colony of Pokrov, at a hundred kilometers from Moscow.

“In view of the seriousness of the hunger strike, the (prison) administration threatens to feed it with force on a daily basis,” he continues.

Force-feeding a prisoner in Russia is allowed by law and can be done orally, rectally or by intubation. Such treatment is viewed by human rights activists as a form of torture.

Alexeï Navalny, imprisoned for two and a half years because of a fraud case widely seen as a pretext to imprison him despite denials by the Kremlin, stopped eating to denounce the conditions of his detention in the Pokrov colony.

He accuses the authorities of denying him adequate medical treatment for back problems that make him suffer and affect the functioning of his hands and legs. According to his lawyers, he has a double herniated disc.

In addition, the opponent also said he was “tortured” by sleep deprivation, his jailers waking him every hour during the night.

No doctor

The Russian authorities, for their part, have dismissed all of Mr Navalny’s accusations, believing that he was receiving the medical attention he needed.

“He still does not have access to a doctor,” however, assured his official Twitter account once again on Monday.

According to this source, after several days in the infirmary due to a fever and a strong cough, he was also transferred to his usual barracks.

“An innocent man is being tortured in front of the whole country”, reacted on Twitter Lioubov Sobol, a close friend of Alexeï Navalny.

The most famous opponent of the Kremlin survived poisoning with a nerve agent last summer, developed for military purposes in Soviet times.

The opponent accuses President Vladimir Putin and his security services (FSB) of wanting to eliminate him, which the Russian authorities deny, even refusing to investigate the assassination attempt.

According to European laboratories, Navalny was poisoned using a Novichok-type agent and the European Union adopted sanctions against senior Russian officials accordingly.

On his return from Russia, after five months of convalescence in Germany, he was arrested on his arrival at Moscow airport, then quickly tried and sent to prison for violating a judicial review in a previous case.

Mr. Navalny specializes in corruption investigations targeting Mr. Putin, his entourage and senior Russian officials. He has millions of subscribers on social networks.

After his arrest, a protest movement was suppressed in January by the police, with thousands of arrests.

Mr. Navalny’s organization has planned further protest actions in the spring, but is waiting to have 500,000 participants registered on its site to announce a date. They were 420,000 on Monday.

His supporters are regularly searched and arrested.

Monday, his supporters in Dagestan announced on social networks that their manager, Edouard Ataev, and one of his colleagues, were “unreachable” and untraceable, the day after the opening of their branch in this Russian republic in the Caucasus.

One of her relatives who heads a doctors’ union, Anastasia Vassilieva, was also fined 180,000 rubles (1950 euros) for disturbing public order, the NGO Agora announced on Monday, whose lawyers represent.

She and a few protesters gathered outside his penal colony last week to demand that he receive appropriate medical treatment. Four of them were also sentenced to short prison terms.