Kremlin critic Navalny looks skinny and exhausted after hunger strike



In this photo provided by Babuskinsky District Court on Thursday, April 29, 2021, Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny appears on TV screens via a video link from prison, during a hearing on his defamation charges , at the Babuskinsky District Court in Moscow, Russia.
Image Credit: AP

Moscow: Jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny, looking gaunt and exhausted after a hunger strike, on Thursday denounced the Russian justice system as his team said he faced new criminal charges and dissolved a network of regional campaign offices.

In his first appearance since declaring the three-week hunger strike ended last week, a shaven-headed Navalny remained defiant, although a blurry video link from prison during a court hearing in a separate case showed that he had lost weight.

Dismissing the charges in the separate defamation case of a WWII veteran, Navalny said, “I demand that those who signed signatures (against him), (and) prosecutors be brought to justice. criminal. ” But after weeks of mounting pressure, his allies announced they were disbanding his network of campaign offices across Russia as a court debated whether to declare them and his Anti-Corruption Foundation (FBK) , “Extremists”.

If the network is declared an extremist, the authorities will have the legal power to issue prison sentences for activists and freeze bank accounts. The court said on Thursday it would hold its next hearing in the case on May 17.

“Maintaining the work of the Navalny headquarters network in its current form is impossible: it would immediately lead … to criminal convictions for those who work at the headquarters, who collaborate with them and for those who help them”, Leonid Volkov , one of Navalny’s close allies, said in a YouTube video.

He said many offices would try to function as fully independent regional structures run by their own leaders.

FBK has already been partially prevented from accessing its bank accounts, organizing protests and publishing articles in the media.

Navalny’s allies also said a new criminal case was opened against him for allegedly setting up a non-profit organization that allegedly violated citizens’ rights.

Nerve agent attack

Navalny, 44, is serving a 2-1 / 2 year sentence for parole violations on a previous conviction that he says was politically motivated.

He declared his hunger strike in prison on March 31 to demand appropriate medical treatment for leg and back pain, but said on April 23 that he would gradually begin to end it after receiving medical treatment.

Pressure has been mounting on him and his campaign against political and commercial corruption for months.

Last year, Navalny accused President Vladimir Putin of being behind an attack on him with a nerve agent he survived.

Russian authorities have denied any involvement and questioned whether he was even poisoned, but Western countries have imposed sanctions on Moscow for his treatment of Navalny.

Navalny recovered in Germany from a nerve agent attack, but was arrested on his return to Russia in January and sentenced the following month.

He was also found guilty of defamation in the separate case against him, which he denies.


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