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Russian prison authorities refuse to transfer Navalny to infirmary for treatment of illness

Alexey Navalny at a rally in Moscow. (Wikimedia Commons)

This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.

Prison authorities have refused to transfer Kremlin critic Aleksei Navalny from punitive confinement to the penal colony’s infirmary to get treatment for flu symptoms, according to social media posts on January 11 by people close to the opposition politician.

According to the posts, the prison administration explained its refusal by referring to a flu outbreak in the penitentiary, saying that Navalny may get the flu if placed in the overcrowded rooms in the infirmary.

Navalny and his lawyer, Vadim Kobzev, have said for several days that Navalny has a heavy cough and a fever. Kobzev said on January 10 that the prison guards had refused to pass on medicine to his client.

Navalny said last week that he was placed in solitary confinement for the 10th time since August.

According to Navalny, the guards added a person to his cell but then kept him separate for one day. The person was returned to his cell with flu symptoms, and Navalny then started feeling sick.

Navalny’s wife, Yulia Navalnaya, wrote on Instagram on January 11 that her husband is not allowed to lie on a bed in the punitive cell, which makes his situation even worse.

“Are you humans at all? What is happening in your heads? How do you live, enjoying intentionally infecting a person and depriving him of treatment and medicine?” Navalnaya wrote, addressing the penal colony’s guards.

On January 10, a group of Russian physicians urged President Vladimir Putin “to stop torturing Navalny” in prison and allow doctors from medical institutions outside the prison to examine him and transfer him to a regular hospital for treatment if need be.

The outspoken Putin critic is serving two sentences for violating parole and embezzlement at Penal Colony No. 6 in the region of Vladimir, about 260 kilometers east of Moscow.