Jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny has vowed to sue Russian prison officials for denying him access to the Muslim holy book, the Koran, in his penal colony outside Moscow.
Navalny, 44, who is serving a two-and-a-half year sentence on old embezzlement charges, was jailed in February after returning to Russia from Germany where he was receiving treatment for a poisoning attack.
Russia’s most prominent opposition figure announced a hunger strike two weeks ago to demand adequate medical treatment.
Navalny said he was taking legal action against prison authorities because ‘they won’t give me my Koran. And it’s infuriating.’
‘When I was jailed, I made a list of ways I wanted to improve myself that I will try to complete in jail. One of the points was to deeply study and understand the Koran,’ he wrote.
‘Books are our everything, and if you have to sue for the right to read, I will sue,’ he said.
His post came one day after many Muslims around the world started Ramadan after religious leaders confirmed the month of fasting would begin on Tuesday.
Navalny, pictured with his wife and children, was in hospital in Germany where he was receiving treatment for a poisoning attack
In his Instagram post Tuesday, Navalny said he had read the Koran before but had not internalised its core tenets.
‘I realised that my development as a Christian also requires studying the Koran,’ he wrote
This week his allies said had lost 15kg since arriving at the facility last month and that authorities had threatened to force feed him.
The prison said Navalny was offered proper treatment but refused it, insisting he wanted to be treated by a doctor of his choice from outside the facility. The request was denied.
is serving a two-and-a-half year sentence on old embezzlement charges after he was jailed in February when he returned from Germany
Navalny, whom the West says has been wrongly jailed and should be freed, was moved to a prison clinic earlier this month after complaining of a high temperature and a bad cough.
His lawyers and allies are demanding that he be transferred to a regular hospital. The Kremlin has said that Navalny is not entitled to any special treatment.
He came under fire early in his political career for making nationalistic comments and deriding immigrants in Russia from predominantly Muslim countries in Central Asia.
He has since been a thorn in the Kremlin’s side for a decade by probing corruption among officials and leading large protests throughout Russia.