Opposition leader in Russia Alexei Navalny, who had earlier complained of serious back and leg pain in custody, has now said that the doctors have found him to be suffering from a double hernia. Navalny's lawyer Olga Mikhailova told the independent TV channel Dozhd on Wednesday, April 8 that Navalny also is beginning to lose sensation in his hands.
Navalny went on a hunger strike last week to protest what he called "poor medical care". On Tuesday, the leader of the Navalny-backed Alliance of Doctors union was detained by police after trying to get into the prison to talk to doctors.
Mikhailova did not specify where Navalny's hernias are located but said one of them is difficult to treat and that a neurologist consulted by Navalny's organisation said the treatment prescribed in the prison was ineffective.
Navalny, 44, is Russian President Vladimir Putin's fiercest domestic opponent. He was arrested in January upon returning to Moscow from Germany, where he spent five months recovering from a nerve-agent poisoning that he blames on the Kremlin. Russian authorities have rejected the accusation. Still, labs in Germany and elsewhere in Europe confirmed that Navalny was poisoned with the Soviet-era Novichok nerve agent.
A Russian court ordered Navalny in February to serve 2 1/2 years in prison for violating the terms of his probation, including when he was convalescing in Germany, from a 2014 embezzlement conviction.
Within weeks of being imprisoned, Navalny said he developed severe back and leg pains and was effectively deprived of sleep because a guard checks on him hourly at night. He went on a hunger strike on March 31, demanding access to proper medication and a visit from his doctor.
Russia's state penitentiary service has said that Navalny is receiving all the medical help he needs.
In an Instagram post on Monday, Navalny said three of the 15 people he is housed with have been diagnosed with tuberculosis, a contagious disease that spreads through the air. He said he had a strong cough and a fever with a temperature of 38.1 degrees Celsius (100.6 F).
On Monday, the state penitentiary service said Navalny had been the prison's sanitary unit after a checkup found him having "signs of a respiratory illness, including a high fever." Mikhailova said Wednesday that Navalny's fever had lowered, but he is still coughing and is weak from the hunger strike.
This has once again sparked a discussion on social media about Navalny and Putin. People on Twitter are criticising the Russian President for silencing his opponent.
Here's what people have to say about the issue.