Fri, 07 May 2021

Jailed Russian opposition politician Aleksei Navalny says he has filed a lawsuit against the administration of Correctional Colony No. 2, where he is incarcerated, for not allowing him to read the Koran.

Navalny wrote on Instagram on April 13 that the holy book for Muslims, the Koran, and all of the other books he brought with him to the penitentiary in early March had been withheld, as the guards said that they needed three months to check all his books -- including the Koran -- for extremism.

'The problem is that they have not given me my Koran. When they incarcerated me, I made a list of tasks to improve myself while in prison. One of such points was to study deeply and understand the Koran and the Prophet's followers.... I understood that my development as a Christian also requires the study of the Koran,' Navalny wrote.

SEE ALSO: Navalny's Personal Doctor Fined Over Attempt To See Him In Prison

Navalny's statement comes on the first day of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, during which practicing Muslims abstain from eating, drinking, smoking, and sex from dawn to sunset.

Some 10 percent of Russia's population of more than 144 million are Muslims or from an Islamic cultural background.

Navalny was arrested in January on his arrival from Germany, where he was treated for a poisoning in Siberia with what was defined by European labs as a nerve agent in August 2020. Navalny accused President Vladimir Putin of ordering the poisoning, which Kremlin has denied.

SEE ALSO: U.S., EU Demand Navalny's Freedom As Health Worries Grow

In February, a Moscow court ruled that while in Germany, Navalny had violated the terms of parole from an old embezzlement case that is widely considered to be politically motivated.

His 3 1/2-year suspended sentence from the case was converted into a prison term, though the court said he will serve just over 2 1/2 years in prison given time he had been held in detention.

Navalny has complained recently of back pain and numbness in his hands and legs and has accused the authorities of withholding adequate medical treatment.

The 44-year-old politician has lost 13 kilograms since his imprisonment and continues a hunger strike aimed at forcing prison officials to allow him to be treated by his own doctor.

Copyright (c) 2018. RFE/RL, Inc. Republished with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036

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