Russia opposition leader may have been poisoned: doctor
July 29, 2019
A Russian doctor has said the opposition leader's symptoms suggest that he might have been targeted with a "toxic agent." Berlin has urged Moscow to release over 1,300 prisoners arrested during Navalny-backed protests.
Navalny's doctor: 'The patient should be under observation at a hospital'
Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny's personal doctor, Anastasiya Vasilyeva, said Monday that an unidentified "toxic agent" may have caused his health to deteriorate while in police custody. Navalny was rushed to a Moscow hospital on Sunday but was since reported to be in "satisfactory condition" and taken back to jail.
"He was poisoned by some sort of unknown chemical substance; it's unclear whether what he has is contact dermatitis or not, but he was in a life-threatening condition," she told reporters.
"And now they are sending him back to the same place where that same toxic, chemical substance might be again."
The ophthalmologist said she was "categorically" opposed to moving Navalny out of the hospital.
"This was a chemical substance — even the doctors here have admitted that," she said.
Navalny's lawyer, Olga Mikhailova, supported that assumption, saying: "It is indeed poisoning."
Navalny, a critic of President Vladimir Putin and the most visible face of Russia's opposition movement, is regularly arrested for calling on protesters to demonstrate against corruption and non-liberal government policies.
He challenged Putin in the 2018 presidential elections but failed to make a stand after a Russian court banned him from participating over a criminal conviction for alleged financial crimes that he described as politically motivated.
Human rights organizations have called on Russian authorities to end their crackdown on the opposition. "All legitimate candidates should be allowed to participate and free and fair elections must be guaranteed in Moscow," said Council of Europe spokesman Daniel Holtgen.