Alexei Navalny: Jailed Putin critic moved to prison hospital with ‘respiratory illness’

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Alexei Navalny has been moved to a medical facility to be treated for a possible respiratory illness and has been tested for Covid-19, a Russian newspaper has reported.

The Kremlin critic said earlier that he had a high temperature and bad cough and three of the 15 inmates in his Russian prison ward were being treated in hospital for tuberculosis.

The Izvestia newspaper later carried a statement from the state penitentiary service saying Mr Navalny was moved to the prison colony’s sanity unit after a checkup found he had “signs of a respiratory illness, including a high fever”.

The 44-year-old had been arrested in January after he returned from Germany, where he spent five months recovering from a nerve-agent poisoning he blames on the Kremlin. Russia has denied the accusation.

In February, he was sentenced to two and a half years in prison for violating the terms of his probation while convalescing in Germany. The sentence stems from a 2014 embezzlement conviction Mr Navalny has rejected as fabricated, and which the European Court of Human Rights has ruled to be unlawful.

Mr Navalny’s team say he had lost a substantial amount of weight even before he launched a hunger strike on Wednesday to protest the authorities’ failure to provide proper treatment for his back and leg pains.

He complained about prison officials’ refusal to give him the proper medications and to allow his doctor to visit him. He also complained about the hourly checks a guard makes on him at night, saying they amount to sleep deprivation.

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