Alexei Navalny has been transferred to a prison hospital over concerns the opposition leader is dangerously ill and could die “at any minute”.
It comes as doctors released paperwork showing Navalny – who has been on hunger strike for nearly three weeks – was in danger of a heart attack or kidney failure.
In a statement on Monday, Russia’s prisons service said a doctors’ committee had decided to transfer Navalny to an infirmary in another prison in the Vladimir region that “specialises in dynamic monitoring of similar patients”.
“Currently Navalny’s health is evaluated as satisfactory, he is being examined daily by a doctor. With his agreement he has been prescribed vitamin therapy,” it said.
His doctors and other representatives do not know what medical regime Navalny is on and whether he consented to it.
Navalny’s supporters say the authorities are hiding information about his condition and described the infirmary in the IK-3 prison colony as specialising in critically ill tuberculosis patients.
“This needs to be recognised as showing that Navalny’s condition has worsened,” wrote Ivan Zhdanov, the head of Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation. “And it’s gotten so much worse that even the torture chamber has admitted it.”
Navalny’s top aides have announced large protests in his support on Wednesday, setting up a potential clash between demonstrators and police.
Late last week, Moscow’s prosecutor applied to a court to recognise his organisation to be recognised as extremist, threatening to liquidate his regional headquarters and investigative operation if it is approved.
On Monday, the EU’s top diplomat, Josep Borrell, said Brussels made “Russian authorities responsible for the health situation of Mr Navalny”. Meanwhile, the US has threatened consequences if Navalny dies in prison.