Biden says situation with Russia's Navalny 'totally unfair'
US President Joe Biden on Saturday said the situation with Russian opposition figure Alexey Navalny, who is currently serving a two-and-a-half prison term, is "totally unfair."
Biden was asked to comment on Navalny's detention conditions on Saturday. In response, the US president told reporters that it is "totally unfair" and "totally inappropriate."
Navalny, who has been complaining about severe back and leg pain, went on a hunger strike at the end of March, after being denied a visit by a doctor of his own choice. Olga Mikhailova, his lawyer, says the 44-year-old is suffering from two spinal hernias. He has refused the treatment offered by the prison authorities.
According to the Russian Federal Penitentiary Service, Navalny's health has been assessed as stable and satisfactory by medical professionals and he has been receiving all necessary care.
In January, Navalny returned to Moscow from Berlin after receiving medical treatment for his alleged poisoning. The 44-year-old was arrested on arrival and referred to a court, which in early February rescinded his suspended sentence in the 2014 Yves Rocher fraud case over multiple probation breaches and replaced it with a 3.5-year term behind bars. A Moscow city court reinstated the ruling but reduced the sentence to 2.5 years.
Navalny has been found guilty of defrauding the Russian subsidiary of French cosmetics firm Yves Rocher of 26 million rubles ($340,500).
Last week, Russian Foreign Ministry's spokeswoman, Maria Zakharova, said that the United States is making up "stories" about Navalny's detention conditions while the US itself continues to violate the rights of prisoners.