Navalny says he looks like ‘an awful skeleton’ after hunger strike

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Jailed Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny on Thursday said he looks like “an awful skeleton” during his first court appearance since ending his hunger strike last week.

Navalny, with his head shaven, appeared in Moscow court via video from prison, saying he now weighs just under 160 pounds, a weight which the vocal critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin said he had not reached since seventh grade. 

Navalny’s lawyer said he weighed roughly 207 pounds when he returned to Moscow from Germany in January, according to CNN

The opposition leader had started his hunger strike late last month over complaints regarding access to medical care in prison. 

Days after a Russian physician said that Navalny could “die at any moment” due to the hunger strike, the jailed critic announced in an Instagram post last week that he would be ending the strike following advice from doctors. 

A judge upheld Navalny’s conviction at Thursday’s hearing, which the opposition leader used to vocalize his continued defiance and criticism of the Kremlin. 

According to Reuters, Navalny said of Putin, “I want to tell the dear court that your king is naked.” 

“Millions of people are already shouting about it, because it is obvious … His crown is hanging and slipping,” he continued. 

“Your naked, thieving king wants to continue to rule until the end. … Another 10 years will come, a stolen decade will come,” Navalny said.

CNN reported that Navalny then addressed prosecutors in the courtroom, calling them “traitors.” 

“You and the naked king are implementing a plan to seize Russia, and the Russians should be turned into slaves,” he said. “Their wealth will be taken away from them, they will be deprived of any prospects, you have implemented that plan.”

After the judge attempted to interrupt Navalny, he called her a traitor as well, according to CNN. 

The Kremlin critic’s allies said Thursday that he faces new criminal charges and that his network of regional campaign offices had been forced to disband over allegations that it infringed on the rights of citizens, Reuters reported. 

The news agency noted that a separate court is considering whether to declare Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation and its network of regional offices “extremist.” 

The label would grant the Russian government the authority to jail activists associated with the group and freeze affiliated bank accounts, according to Reuters.

Tags alexei navalny Alexei Navalny poisoning CNN Hunger strike Instagram Kremlin Navalny imprisonment Reuters Russian opposition Vladimir Putin

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