Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Jailed Kremlin critic’s ‘health ebbing, lawyers denied access’

Jailed Kremlin critic’s ‘health ebbing, lawyers denied access’

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Navalny (L) was jailed in February after returning to Russia from Germany. AFP

Jailed Kremlin critic’s ‘health ebbing, lawyers denied access’

Lawyers for jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny sounded the alarm on March 24 over the politician’s deteriorating health in prison and demanded immediate access, saying he complained of back pain and leg numbness.

In August, President Vladimir Putin’s most prominent critic survived a near-fatal poisoning with Novichok, a military-grade nerve agent, and was flown to Germany for treatment.

The 44-year-old was arrested upon his return to Russia in January and was sentenced to two-and-a-half-years in jail the following month. He is serving his sentence outside Moscow, in a penal colony notorious for harsh discipline.

Navalny’s lawyer Olga Mikhailova said on March 24 he had recently been complaining of strong back pain, adding that his leg has gone numb this week.

The opposition politician had seen a neurologist but the doctor had not said what was wrong with him, Mikhailova said, adding that Navalny had simply been given ibuprofen.

“That’s all his treatment,” she said, adding that the painkiller did not help, while his leg went numb on March 23.

“I don’t know what’s wrong with him. He should be seen by a proper doctor,” she said.

Mikhailova said she was not allowed to see Navalny on March 24.

Navalny’s team expressed strong concern.

The opposition politician’s right-hand man Leonid Volkov suggested the prison administration might be hiding the fact that he had been transferred to a prison infirmary.

“We don’t know where Alexei Navalny is and why they are hiding him from his lawyers,” Volkov said on Facebook.

‘Life in danger’

Maria Pevchikh, head of investigations at Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation, said: “The rapid deterioration of his health condition raises our extreme concerns.”

“We believe that Navalny’s life is in danger and demand immediate access to him for his lawyers,” she tweeted.

Volkov said that on March 25 Navalny’s lawyers would make a new attempt to see him in his prison in the town of Pokrov, located more than 100km east of Moscow.

Navalny himself has described the Pokrov prison as a “concentration camp”, saying he was woken up every hour at night because he was considered a flight risk and guards recorded him on camera during his sleep.

Last month Navalny was sentenced to two and a half years in a penal colony for breaching parole terms while in Germany recovering from the poisoning attack.

On March 23, his team launched a campaign seeking Navalny’s release and announced plans to stage what they said would be “modern Russia’s biggest protest”.

Navalny’s allies urged supporters to register with the website free.navalny.com and mark their location on an online map.

The team said they would set a date for the protest once 500,000 supporters have been registered.


  • WHO: Covid in Cambodia goes into new phase

    The World Health Organisation (WHO) in Cambodia said that Cambodia has reached a new phase of the pandemic with “decreasing case numbers, high vaccination coverage and a more transmissible circulating variant threatening a hidden surge”. In a press release on September 6, the WHO said that

  • 'Pursue your goals, reach out to me': Young diplomat tapped as envoy to South Korea

    Chring Botum Rangsay was a secretary of state at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation before being designated as the new Cambodian ambassador to South Korea. According to her official CV published on the foreign ministry’s website, she started her first government

  • International air visitor arrivals dip 93%

    The number of foreign tourists entering Cambodia through the Kingdom’s three international airports witnessed a sharp 92.5 per cent year-on-year decline in the first seven months of this year, according to the Ministry of Tourism. The airports handled 51,729 international tourists in the January-July period versus

  • School reopening ‘offers model for other sectors’

    World Health Organisation (WHO) representative to Cambodia Li Ailan said school reopening process should be used as a role model for reopening other sectors currently mothballed by the Covid-19 pandemic. Li strongly supports the government’s decision to reopen schools, saying it is a decision

  • Covid jab drive for 6-11 age group to begin Sept 17

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has permitted Covid-19 vaccinations for over 1.8 million children aged 6-11 across the country from September 17 in order for them to return to school after a long hiatus. Hun Sen also hinted that vaccinations for the 3-6 age group will follow in

  • Is Cambodia’s microfinance sector running its course?

    Economic growth and the strength of the banking system might have prompted a slow decline of the microfinance segment that has been raising a population ‘The MFI business model is over,” opined David Van, a Cambodian investment expert, recently. He felt that in a couple