In the midst of a protest outside of Alexey Navalny’s prison demanding that he be given medical attention, Russian police arrested his personal doctor on Tuesday.
Fears for Navalny’s wellbeing have increased after the Kremlin critic disclosed in an Instagram post that he was suffering from a high fever and a bad cough, as well as the fact that three inmates in his ward had been admitted to the hospital with tuberculosis.
As the rally got underway, Anastasia Vasilyeva, who had said Navalny wanted to go to a “specialized hospital” and warned it was “very likely” he had been infected with coronavirus, was detained.
According to Reuters, another Navalny supporter was arrested. It was unclear why they were being detained.
The concerns about Navalny’s health come after he announced a hunger strike last week in protest of prison authorities’ failure to treat him for acute back and leg pain.
His supporters have demanded that he be able to see any doctor he wants and receive “adequate care.”
Navalny was transferred to a sickbay and checked for the coronavirus, according to the state prison system.
It also says that his health is satisfactory and that he has received all requisite medical attention.
On Tuesday, the Kremlin weighed in on the matter, saying that if he became ill, he would be handled like any other inmate.
Navalny had previously been accused of fabricating his medical conditions in order to keep himself in the public eye by state media and some members of a prison oversight committee.
Security near the prison was beefed up ahead of Tuesday’s rally.
A makeshift checkpoint was set up in front of the prison entrance, with one officer supported by a police dog, and a metal barrier was used to block a nearby road.
Everyone but prison personnel were allowed to park in the lot, and reporters and prison employees had their IDs checked.
Navalny supporter Antonina Romanova said she would attend the demonstration as a gesture of solidarity.
“I assume he is not guilty. Romanova told Reuters, “I’m completely on his side.” “For whatever reason, the people who can help the country figure things out end up in jail.”
Navalny was detained in January after returning from Germany, where he had spent five months recovering from a nerve-agent poisoning he blamed on the Kremlin.
The allegation has been dismissed by Russian authorities.