Culture

Celebrities pen open plea to Putin for Navalny's health care

Celebrities pen open plea to Putin for Navalny's health care”

The opposition's 44-year-old personal doctor, Anastasia Vasilieva, and three other doctors, including a cardiologist, asked to see Navalny immediately, according to a letter to the Russian Prison Administration posted on Vasilieva's Twitter account Saturday. Navalny blames the poisoning on the Kremlin.

On Saturday, U.S. President Joe Biden added his voice to a growing global chorus of protest at the treatment of the activist, describing his situation as "totally unfair".

Navalny, a fierce opponent of Russian President Vladimir Putin, started refusing food on March 31 in protest at what he said was the refusal of prison authorities to provide him with proper medical care for acute back and leg pain.

Physician Yaroslav Ashikhmin said Saturday that test results he received from Navalny's family show him with sharply elevated levels of potassium, which can bring on cardiac arrest, and heightened creatinine levels that indicate impaired kidneys.

She said he should be moved into an intensive care station, adding "fatal arrhythmia can develop any minute".

Mr Navalny was arrested on January 17 when he returned to Russian Federation from Germany, where he had spent five months recovering from Soviet nerve-agent poisoning that he blames on the Kremlin.

This may have exacerbated his condition, doctors said, as they asked prison officials to grant them immediate access.

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Having blood potassium levels higher than 6.0 mmol (millimoles) per litre usually requires immediate treatment.

"Alexei must immediately be granted his lawful request for a doctor of his choice", said the letter, which was also sent to the parliaments of European Union member states.

Russia's state penitentiary service has said that Mr Navalny was receiving all the medical help he needed.

Navalny has said prison authorities are threatening to put him in a straitjacket to force-feed him unless he abandons his hunger strike. As of Saturday, more than 440,000 people had signed up.

Earlier this week, Navalny's wife Yulia, who visited him in the penal colony, said her husband now weighed 76 kilograms (168 pounds) - down nine kilograms since starting his hunger strike.

The Russian Public Prosecution demanded Friday that the network of regional offices of Navalny and his anti-corruption institution be classified as "extremist organizations".



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