Jailed Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny has gone on hunger strike as he protests against a lack of proper medical treatment for his back and leg pains.
Navalny, one of the most outspoken critics of President Vladimir Putin was arrested in January as he returned to Russia from Germany, where he spent five months recovering from what doctors said was a nerve agent poisoning.
He was jailed earlier this month for two years and eight months for parole violations he says were trumped up.
Concerns have been raised about his health in jail and on Wednesday in an Instagram post it was alleged prison authorities have refused to give him the right medication.
They have also allegedly not allowed his doctor to visit him behind bars.
And he has further protested against the hourly checks a guard makes on him at night, saying they amount to sleep deprivation torture.
Mr Navalny said in his statement because his physical condition had worsened “the only way to attract attention is hunger strike”.
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.”
Mr Navalny was moved this month from a Moscow jail to a prison colony in Pokrov in the Vladimir region, 50 miles east of the Russian capital.
The facility stands out among Russian penitentiaries for its particularly strict inmate routines, which include standing to attention for hours.
A number of countries, including the UK, have called for Navalny’s release but the Russian government has dismissed this as interference in its internal affairs.
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