Alexei Navalny in Coma After Suspected Poisoning

Aide suspects Russian opposition figure was poisoned via his tea
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Aug 20, 2020 2:45 AM CDT
Aide: Russia Opposition Leader in a Coma After Poisoning
In this Feb. 29, 2020 photo, Russian opposition activist Alexei Navalny takes part in a march in memory of opposition leader Boris Nemtsov in Moscow, Russia.   (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin, File)

(Newser) – Russian opposition politician Alexei Navalny is in a coma and on a ventilator in a hospital intensive care unit in Siberia after falling ill from suspected poisoning during a flight, his spokeswoman said Thursday morning. The 44-year-old foe of Russia's President Vladimir Putin felt unwell on a flight back to Moscow from Tomsk, a city in Siberia, Kira Yarmysh said on Twitter. She said the plane made an emergency landing in Omsk, Siberia, and that Navalny was suffering from "toxic poisoning," the AP reports. "He is in a coma in grave condition,” she said on Twitter. Yarmysh said the politician must have consumed something from tea he drank earlier in the morning. Russia's state news agency Tass reported that the politician is in grave condition, citing the chief doctor at the hospital.

Last year, Navalny was rushed to a hospital from a prison where he was serving a 30-day sentence for calling for unauthorized protests, with what his team said was suspected poisoning. Doctors then said he had a severe allergic attack and discharged him back to prison the following day. Navalny's Foundation for Fighting Corruption has been exposing graft among government officials, including some at the highest level. Last month, the politician had to shut the foundation after a financially devastating lawsuit from Yevgeny Prigozhin, a businessman with close ties to the Kremlin. Like many other opposition politicians in Russia, Navalny has been frequently detained by law enforcement and harassed by pro-Kremlin groups. In 2017, he was attacked by several men who threw antiseptic in his face, damaging one eye.

(Read more Alexei Navalny stories.)

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