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Putin Critic Hospitalized After 4 Days in Jail

Alexei Navalny developed 'severe allergy'
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 29, 2019 2:23 AM CDT
Russian opposition activist Alexei Navalny films himself in a police station in Moscow, Russia, Wednesday, July 24, 2019.   (Navalny Instagram via AP)
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(Newser) – Vladimir Putin's most prominent critic was taken from his jail cell to a hospital Sunday after what a spokeswoman says was a severe allergic reaction—something he has never experienced before. Alexei Navalny was sentenced to 30 days in jail last week for calling for unauthorized protests against the banning of opposition candidates in local elections, the AP reports. Spokeswoman Kira Yarmysh says Navalny was hospitalized Sunday morning with severe facial swelling and red rashes. She says he has never experienced an allergic reaction before. Hospital sources say Navalny, considered the country's leading opposition figure, is in satisfactory condition, reports the BBC.

Leonid Volkov, a Navalny associate, said Sunday that he suspected the reaction was caused by poor conditions in jail instead of foul play, noting that he developed a rash after being held in the same cell last month. An eye doctor who treated Navalny after he was temporarily blinded in one eye when a pro-Kremlin activist threw dye at him in 2017, however, believes he may have been exposed to toxic substances, the Guardian reports. "We cannot exclude toxic damage to the skin by chemicals induced by a 'third person,'" Anastasy Vasilyeva said, urging the hospital to let Navalny be properly examined. She said she and another doctor were turned away when they asked to examine Navalny, who is under police guard. (Last year, Navalny was jailed for 30 days in connection with a protest, then re-arrested on his way out.)

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