The health of Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny is deteriorating as he keeps up his hunger strike in prison, with a new numbness in his hands, his lawyers said Wednesday.
Last Wednesday President Vladimir Putin's most prominent opponent, who is serving two and a half years on embezzlement charges, launched a hunger strike to demand proper medical treatment for severe back pain and numbness in his legs.
Members of Navalny's defence team, who visited him in his penal colony in the town of Pokrov 100 kilometres (60 miles) east of Moscow on Wednesday, said he is still refusing food and was coughing.
"He looks bad, he's not feeling well," lawyer Olga Mikhailova told AFP, adding Navalny now weighs "around 80" kilogrammes (176 pounds).
Navalny, who is 189 centimetres (six feet two inches) tall, weighed 93 kilogrammes (205 pounds) when he arrived in his penal colony last month.
"No one is going to treat him," Mikhailova added.
Navalny's lawyers and allies are demanding that he be transferred to a "normal" hospital but Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has said that Navalny is not entitled to any special treatment.
Another member of the opposition politician's team, Vadim Kobzev, said that 44-year-old Navalny was losing a kilogramme a day.
Taking to Twitter, Kobzev said Navalny felt pain when he walked and was now also feeling a numbness in his hands in addition to back pain and a loss of sensation in his legs.
"It's clear that his illness is getting worse," Kobzev wrote.
Earlier this week, Navalny said he had a cough and fever and that three members of his prison unit had been hospitalised with tuberculosis.
Navalny was arrested in January after returning from Germany, where he spent months recovering from a poisoning attack with Novichok nerve agent he blames on the Kremlin.
He is serving a two-and-a-half year sentence for breaching the parole terms of a suspended sentence on old fraud charges.
Rights campaigners say the Pokrov penal colony is known for its especially harsh conditions, and Navalny himself has called it a "concentration camp."
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