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Russian Hospital Says Tests Exclude Navalny Poisoning


A handout image made available on the official website of Aleksei Navalny shows the opposition leader sitting on a hospital bed in Moscow on July 29.

The head of a Russian medical center says laboratory tests performed on unspecified biomaterial taken from opposition politician Aleksei Navalny have excluded poisoning as a reason for his recent hospitalization.

Aleksei Tokarev, chief physician of the Moscow Sklifosovsky Medical Center, said on July 31 that Navalny’s samples had been delivered to the center’s lab on July 29 and that the results state "no substances that could cause poisoning have been found."

The Kremlin critic, who is currently serving a 30-day jail sentence for calling a protest last weekend where almost 1,400 people were detained by police, was taken to hospital late on July 28 with severe swelling of the face and a rash, sparking fears he had been the victim of a poisoning attempt, though hospital officials characterized the illness as "a generalized allergic reaction."

Navalny was released from the hospital a day later and transferred back to jail and has said he shares the suspicions of his lawyer and his personal doctor that he may have been poisoned in prison.

Doctor Anastasia Vasilyeva said she has taken Navalny's hair and clothing samples for independent testing, as well as calling for any video from internal cameras in the jail where the 43-year-old was being held.

Navalny’s lawyer, Olga Mikhailova, said on July 29 that she was asking for the court to terminate the case “due to the lack of evidence or to terminate his administrative arrest due to his poor health condition."

The Kremlin critic also posted a picture of himself on social media with a bloated face and one eye shut.

The rally on July 27 took place in protest of Moscow election officials who have refused to register several independent and opposition candidates to run in the September 8 vote to the 45-seat Moscow City Duma legislature.

The municipal legislature has oversight over Moscow's $43 billion budget, the largest of any city in the country.

The United States, the European Union, Canada, and human-rights groups have denounced what they called the "disproportionate” and “indiscriminate” use of force against the demonstrators.

Based on reporting by Interfax and TASS
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