Navalny Declares a Hunger Strike in Prison Over Medical Care

MOSCOW — Aleksei A. Navalny, the imprisoned Russian opposition leader, declared a hunger strike on Wednesday in protest over what he said was prison officials’ failure to provide him with proper medical care for severe pain in his back and his right leg.

In a handwritten letter to the prison warden, Mr. Navalny, the most vocal critic of President Vladimir V. Putin, complained that despite his worsening condition, he has not been allowed to see a doctor of his choice or receive necessary medication.

Mr. Navalny, who suffered a near-fatal poisoning in August, wrote in the letter, posted online by his supporters, that he needed “to see a doctor very badly” and that he would not end his hunger strike “before it happens.” The prison staff, he added, had also ordered a campaign of psychological harassment against him, including sleep deprivation.

Mr. Navalny had said in an earlier statement that prison doctors had provided only ibuprofen pills to treat the pain, describing the prison as “a real concentration camp 60 miles away from Moscow.”

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