Alexei Navalny’s road to prison hospital
April 21, 2021 - Russian police have arrested key supporters of opposition leader Alexei Navalny to disrupt their plans for nationwide protests on Wednesday - the day of a state-of-the-nation speech by President Putin. He is seriously ill on hunger strike at a prison hospital in Vladimir, about 180km east of Moscow.
The fate of 44-year-old Navalny is adding to already acute strains in Russia's ties with the West. President Joe Biden's national security adviser Jake Sullivan has recently said that the U.S. government had told Russia "there will be consequences" if Navalny died in prison.
Navalny, an anti-corruption campaigner, is serving a 2-1/2 year sentence on old embezzlement charges he calls trumped up.
He was arrested on his return to Russia in January after treatment in Germany for what German authorities say was poisoning in Russia with a banned nerve agent. He and Western governments called this an attempted assassination. The Kremlin denies any blame.
Navalny went on hunger strike on March 31 to protest against what he said was the refusal of prison authorities to provide him with treatment for leg and back pain. Russia says he has been treated well and is exaggerating illness to gain attention.