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Jailed Kremlin critic Navalny announces hunger strike

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In this Saturday, July 20, 2019 file photo Russian opposition activist Alexei Navalny gestures while speaking to a crowd during a political protest in Moscow, Russia. Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny was the victim of an attack and poisoned with the Soviet-era nerve agent Novichok, the German government said Wednesday, Sept. 2, 2020 citing new test results. Navalny, a politician and corruption investigator who is one of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s fiercest critics, fell ill on a flight back to Moscow from Siberia on Aug 20 and was taken to a hospital in the Siberian city of Omsk after the plane made an emergency landing. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin, File)

Jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny announced Wednesday that he has gone on a hunger strike until he receives proper medical treatment for severe back pain and numbness in his legs.

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Last week the 44-year-old opposition politician, who is serving a 2.5-year prison sentence in one of Russia’s most notorious penal colonies, said he was suffering from a pinched nerve that had caused his right leg to go numb.

In a post on Instagram on Wednesday, Navalny said that the back pain that had earlier caused his right leg to go numb was causing his left leg to now lose sensitivity too.

“I have gone on a hunger strike demanding that the law be obeyed and that a visiting doctor be allowed to visit me,” he wrote.

Navalny, who is considered a flight risk by authorities, said last week that he is woken eight times per night by guards announcing to a recording camera that he is still in his cell.

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On Wednesday, he said that instead of receiving medical treatment he is continuing to be “tortured with sleep deprivation”.

Navalny was detained in January after returning to Russia from Germany, where he had been recovering for several months from a poisoning attack he says was orchestrated by the Kremlin.

He was last month sent to prison for 2.5 years on old embezzlement charges his allies and Western governments say are politically motivated.

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