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Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny moved to sick ward, fellow inmates hospitalized with suspected tuberculosis

Jailed Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny has reportedly been moved to a sick ward following his complaints of a cough and high temperature. 

Navalny, a prominent critic of President Vladimir Putin, is currently incarcerated in a prison colony some 100 kilometres from Moscow. In February, a Moscow court found him guilty of violating the terms of his parole from an older embezzlement case that Navalny says is politically motivated, and sentenced him to serve out his previously 3.5 year suspended sentence in prison time.

The opposition leader’s continued imprisonment drew widespread protests in 2020, including criticism from the United States and its allies who demanded his unconditional release. 

Rebel News reported last week that Navalny was staging a hunger strike to draw attention to his lack of medical assistance. Navalny, who survived a suspected poisoning by Russian agents, previously complained of back and leg pain as well as being prevented from sleeping by his guards. 

Radio Free Europe reports that Navalny said in an Instagram post earlier in the day that a third prisoner in his quarters had been hospitalized with suspected tuberculosis, out of the 15 in his prison unit. Tuberculosis is a potentially fatal illness that affects the lungs and is spread through water droplets via coughing and sneezing. 

In the post, the politician said prison doctors diagnosed him with a “severe cough” and a temperature of 38.1 degrees Celsius, indicating that he has a fever. 

Although tuberculosis has been largely eradicated in developed countries, including Russia, conditions in Correctional Colony No. 2, where Navalny is housed, are considered to be some of the harshest in the country.

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