Alexei Navalny
Alexei NavalnyReuters

Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny announced Wednesday that he would begin a hunger strike in protest against the prison officials' failure to provide him proper treatment for the medical problems he has suffered since being sent to prison.

Navalny says that the prison has refused to provide him with the proper medication or to allow his doctor to visit him.

In addition, Navalny says that the hourly checks on him by a prison guard at night amount to sleep deprivation.

“What else could I do?” he writes. “I have declared a hunger strike demanding that they allow a visit by an invited doctor in compliance with the law. So I’m lying here, hungry, but still with two legs.”

Navalny, a critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin, became violently during a flight from Tomsk to Moscow on August 20, 2020. He was later taken to Charité Hospital in Berlin, where doctors confirmed that he was poisoned with a cholinesterase inhibitor which the German government declared to be the Novichok nerve agent..

The Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) has been accused of involvement in the poisoning, a charge which the FSB and Russian government deny.

After his recovery, Navalny returned to Russia on January 17, 2021, and was arrested at passport control at Sheremetyevo International Airport in Moscow for violating parole for an earlier conviction by leaving Russia. On February 2, Navalny was sentenced to two and half years at a corrective labor colony.

US President Joe Biden and other world leaders have condemned the arrest of Navalny and have called for his immediate release.