MOSCOW – Prominent Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny has been transferred from hospital back to jail to carry out the rest of his 30-day sentence despite protests from his physician who said Monday that the activist could have been exposed to a “toxic agent” and his health was still at risk.
Navalny, one of the country’s most renowned critics of President Vladimir Putin, was admitted to hospital from jail, where he was serving a sentence for inciting protests, early Sunday morning after he showed symptoms of a severe allergic reaction, including rashes and a swollen face.
His doctor Anastasia Vasilieva, an ophthalmologist who treated him in 2017 after a pro-Kremlin activist threw green dye in his face leaving him temporarily blind in one eye, told press outside the entrance of Hospital 64 in Moscow that he had been discharged too early.
“They discharged him without even doing analysis,” she said, adding that he should have remained under observation for at least three days.
She said she believed Navalny had come into contact with a chemical substance.
“It’s absurd to call it an allergy,” she added.
The activist’s medical team said it had access to a clothing and hair sample to be tested.
Navalny’s lawyer Olga Mikhailova said she was “categorically opposed” to him being moved out of the hospital.
She insisted he had suffered a toxic reaction to a chemical substance.
In an earlier Facebook post, Vasilieva said she and Navalny’s other doctor Yaroslave Ashikhmin had not been given proper access to him and that routine tests for cases of fast onset allergic reactions had not been undertaken.
She added that information about Navalny’s condition had not been made readily available to his family and friends, but officials had addressed the matter with the news agency Interfax.
The doctor said Navalny had no history of allergies and that his symptoms corresponded with dermatitis and acute keratoconjunctivitis.
In an earlier post, she denounced that one of the doctors at the hospital was a member of Moscow’s legislative assembly for Putin’s United Russia party.
Russian authorities detained Navalny on July 24 after he called for unauthorized anti-government protests in the capital against allegedly rigged city council elections.
On Saturday, more than 1,000 people were arrested for taking part in the demonstration, protests in Russia must be authorized by the authorities and are tightly controlled.
Protesters showed up to demand that Moscow officials lift the ban on independent candidates running in the city elections.
Navalny, a lawyer, has been in and out of jail for inciting protests and is one of the country’s most visible Putin detractors.
Russia’s electoral commission banned him from running against Putin in the 2018 presidential elections citing an embezzlement conviction that Navalny has insisted is political.