Russian doctors say no poison detected in jailed Kremlin critic

Maxim Shemetov  Reuters

Maxim Shemetov Reuters

Russian opposition activist Aleksei Navalny says he shares the suspicions of his lawyer and doctor that he may have been poisoned in prison.

The fierce Kremlin critic and anti-corruption campaigner is now serving a 30-day sentence for violating tough protest laws after urging people to take part in a Moscow demonstration on July 27.

The activist was rushed to hospital on Sunday with "severe swelling of the face and skin redness", which his lawyer and his personal doctor have said could be a result of poisoning. Articles appear on euronews.com for a limited time. Navalny wrote in the post, referring to the Russian government.

Navalny's lawyer, Olga Mikhailova, said on July 29 that she was asking in the appeal for the court to terminate the case "due to the lack of evidence or to terminate his administrative arrest due to his poor health condition".

Tensions are running high in Moscow as dozens of protesters remain in custody and the opposition called for a new rally August 3. "Some toxic agent may be the reason for Alexei Navalny's "illness", his physician Anastasia Vasilyeva said in a post on Facebook, adding that doctors at Moscow's hospital No 64, which treated him, have behaved strangely.

Navalny has been the Kremlin's most formidable foe since 2011 when he led a massive wave of protests against Putin and his party. He has since been convicted on two sets of criminal charges, largely regarded as politically motivated, and spent numerous stints in jail for disturbing public order and leading unsanctioned protests. Navalny was able to travel overseas for treatment.

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Josh Hawley (R-MO) speaks during a hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee March 12, 2019 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. A Snapstreak occurs when two Snapchat friends have snapped each other within 24 hours for more than three consecutive days.

Baton-wielding police on Saturday wrestled with protesters in arguably the largest unsanctioned protest in Russian Federation in a decade.

Lyubov Sobol, 31, is one of 16 opposition-minded candidates the authorities have barred from running in September's election for Moscow's city legislature, a vote seen as a dry run for a national parliamentary election in 2021.

Supporters suspect Navalny, a fierce Kremlin critic, is being targeted as part of one of the biggest crackdowns in recent years against the opposition, who are demanding that their candidates be allowed to run in local elections in Moscow later this year.

Despite the crackdown, thousands of protesters - many in their 20s and early 30s - turned up on Saturday in central Moscow to demonstrate over the blocking of opposition candidates and to urge the authorities to open up the tightly-controlled system. One of them, Ilya Yashin, was sentenced Monday to 10 days in jail for calling the protest.

Navalny's hospitalisation came a day after nearly 1,400 people were arrested at the demonstration the opposition leader had called.

The United States, the European Union, Canada, and human rights groups denounced what they called the "disproportionate" and "indiscriminate" use of force against the demonstrators.

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