Alexei Navalny ends hunger strike after doctors say continuing would be ‘life-threatening’

Leah Sinclair
·2-min read
Alexander Navalny (AP)
Alexander Navalny (AP)

Alexei Navalny has ended his hunger strike after doctors said continuing would be life-threatening.

On the 24th day of the strike, the jailed opposition leader took to Instagram, where he said he would stop refusing food after getting examined by non-prison doctors.

Mr Nalvany added that he would continue to demand a visit from his doctor to address a loss of sensation in his legs and arms.

He also acknowledged the pro-Navalny protests which took place across Russia on Wednesday, and saw nearly 1,500 people calling for the 44-year-old’s freedom.

“Thanks to the huge support of good people across the country and around the world, we have made huge progress,” the Kremlin critic said in his message.

Another reason he was deciding to end the hunger strike was that some of his supporters were refusing to eat in a show of solidarity with him, Mr Navalny said.

“Tears flowed from my eyes when I read that. God, I’m not even acquainted with these people, and they do this for me.

“Friends, my heart is full of love and gratitude for you, but I don’t want anyone physically suffering because of me,” he said.

Mr Navalny began his hunger strike on March 31, demanding access to proper medication and a visit from his doctor after experiencing severe back and leg pains.

He also said he was effectively deprived of sleep because a guard checks on him hourly at night.

Last week, Mr Navalny’s physician said his health was deteriorating rapidly and that he could be on the verge of death.

"Our patient could die at any moment," he said in a Facebook post.

Mr Navalny returned to Moscow in January after spending five months in Germany recovering from a near-fatal nerve agent poisoning he blames on the Kremlin.

Russian officials have denied the allegations.

He is currently serving two-and-a-half years at the IK-2 penal colony prison on a 2014 embezzlement conviction he said was fabricated and the European Court of Human Rights deemed to be "arbitrary and manifestly unreasonable."

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