Blood tests show indicate Alexei Navalny is likely to die in the next few days unless he receives medical attention, doctors said Saturday. A group of physicians has asked prison authorities to allow them to treat the Russian opposition activist, the BBC reports. "His condition is indeed critical," said a representative of the Doctors Alliance trade union, a group that the Russian government considers an opposition organization. Anastasia Vasilyeva, Navalny's personal physician, said in the letter that the blood tests showed his potassium had reached the point where kidney failure and cardiac arrest "can happen any minute." She said union members hadn't examined Navalny but had received the tests from his lawyers, per Reuters. One of the doctors posted a photo of the results online.
Navalny has been on a hunger strike at the prison in Pokrov for more than two weeks, seeking to be allowed medical attention for back and leg pain. Prison officials say that they've offered Navalny proper treatment but that he has refused it, wanting to be treated by an outside doctor. That request has been denied. He said Friday that he had been threatened with being put in a straitjacket and force-fed. JK Rowling and Salman Rushdie were among about 80 leading writers, actors, historians, directors, and journalists who sent an open letter to Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday, asking that Navalny receive proper care quickly. The letter was published on The Economist's website. (Read more Alexei Navalny stories.)