Navalny says prison guards fry chicken to break his hunger strike – Business Insider

  • Alexei Navalny in an Instagram post said prison guards are tempting him by cooking food.
  • He is staging a hunger strike to protest what he says is a lack of medical treatment in prison.
  • His lawyer says his health is deteriorating and he is losing sensation in his hands and legs.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Alexei Navalny, the imprisoned critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin, says that prison guards are trying to tempt him out of a hunger strike by frying chicken in front of him.

Navalny described the situation in an Instagram post from the IK-2 prison in Pokrov, near Moscow, where he is serving a three-and-a-half year sentence.

He has been on hunger strike since last week in protest at what he said is a lack of medical care. In the post, he said that guards also slip candy into his pockets as well as using the smell of cooking chicken.

A post shared by Алексей Навальный (@navalny)

Navalny, the most high-profile challenger to the Russian president, was sentenced in February for having violated earlier parole terms. Navalny argued that he had no ability to meet the parol conditions because he had been poisoned with a nerve agent. 

The poisoning, which took place in August and left him in a coma at the time of the hearings, has been linked to Russia’s FSB security agency, although Russian authorities have denied being involved. 

Navalny also says the original charges were politically motivated and has accused Putin of trying to kill him.

Last week, he went on hunger strike to protest a lack of medical treatment in prison. According to his lawyers he has been diagnosed with two spinal hernias and his health has been deteriorating badly, the BBC reported. 

He has pain walking and is losing sensation in his hands and legs, his lawyer Vadim Kobzev said on Twitter Wednesday. His weight is also dropping by 1lb a day, Kobzev wrote.

In the Instagram post, Navalny wrote: “I knew, of course, that the authorities would first of all want to discredit the hunger strike and make fun of it. Only the primitiveness of the approach is surprising.”

He said he makes sure to only go in the kitchen for water while cameras are recording, saying that state TV has accused his strike of being a sham. 

He also described the guards teasing him as they cook chicken in front of him, encouraging him to eat with them and saying things like: “Come on, Lex …. mmmm, what a smell. Give up, you will not achieve anything.”

He said that he first thought they were following orders, then realized: “This is just what they piously believe in.”

Navalny also said that he was being denied a proper medical diagnosis, and was not allowed to know the results of an MRI scan. 

Amnesty International’s secretary general Agnes Callamard said that the Russian authorities “may be placing him into a situation of a slow death and seeking to hide what is happening to him,” Reuters reported Wednesday. His conditions amount to torture, she said. 

Navalny’s lawyers say there are no doctors, just a single paramedic, at his prison, the BBC reported.

Russia’s prison service denied this, the BBC reported, arguing that Navalny had “all the necessary medical assistance in accordance with his medical indications.”

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said Wednesday that President Joe Biden’s administration was “disturbed” by reports of Navalny’s deteriorating health, and reiterated its stance that the charges against him were “trumped-up.”

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Navalny says prison guards fry chicken to break his hunger strike – Business Insider

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