Russia's Navalny announces start of prison hunger strike

Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny says he has started a prison hunger strike to protest officials’ failure to provide proper treatment for his back and leg pains

Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny says he has started a prison hunger strike to protest officials’ failure to provide proper treatment for his back and leg pains.

In a statement posted Wednesday on Instagram, Navalny complained about prison authorities’ refusal to give him the right medicines and to allow his doctor to visit him behind bars.

He also protested the hourly checks a guard makes on him at night, saying they amount to sleep deprivation torture.

Navalny said in his statement that he had no choice but to protest with a hunger strike because his physical condition has worsened. He said his back pains have spread to his right leg and he feels numbness in his left leg.

“What else could I do?” he wrote. “I have declared a hunger strike demanding that they allow a visit by an invited doctor. So I'm lying here, hungry, but still with two legs.”

Navalny was moved this month from a Moscow jail to a prison colony in Pokrov in the Vladimir region, 85 kilometers (53 miles) east of the Russian capital. The facility stands out among Russian penitentiaries for its particularly strict inmate routines, which include standing at attention for hours.