A few days ago she smelled fried chicken in one of the IK-2 penal colony’s barracks. The shaved prisoners were fed the suddenly warm meat and bread, one prisoner wrote in a letter from the Punishment Colony. Alexei Navalny himself does not eat with him: he is on a hunger strike. And this, he says, is precisely why fragrant fried chicken appeared in the barracks.
Another bully from the guards: hiding the sweet candy in the clothes pockets of a guy who, according to his lawyer, has already lost 13 kilograms in the penal colony.
After a month in one of Russia’s most notorious concentration camps, it is clear that the authorities are trying to make imprisoning President Putin’s main rival as difficult as possible. Navalny’s condition has already deteriorated to the point that the family, the opposition and human rights organizations are questioning whether he will survive his 2.5-year sentence.
Navalny’s health complaints now fill in a whole list: pains and numbness in the back, legs and arms, severe coughing, height, and insomnia because guards wake him up every hour of the night. On top of that are the consequences of his hunger strike.
Prosecutor, says the Russian state media. The Kremlin channel RT (formerly Russia Today) was allowed entry into the penal colony and concluded that it looked more like a “scout camp” than a prison.
This week, penal colony executives admitted that there was actually something wrong with Navalny’s health. They took Navalny to the infirmary. After restricting medical assistance to ibuprofen painkillers for weeks, they performed an MRI scan. On Wednesday, Navalny’s attorneys reported the findings: a double hernia in his spine.
Navalny demands an examination by a doctor of his choice. His confidence in the independence of state-appointed doctors was shaken by his experience at Omsk Hospital, where security personnel took over when Navalny was brought in to poison Novichok. Two doctors involved in Navalny’s treatment died suddenly in recent months.
Navalny’s doctor, Anastasia Vasilgieva, was arrested on Tuesday when she requested access to the opposition leader of the penal colony.
According to human rights organizations, the situation is critical. “The Russian authorities may put him in a position where he is slowly dying and try to hide what is happening to him,” Agnes Callamard, Secretary General of Amnesty International, told Reuters news agency.