An Arizona court has ordered a Russian on hunger strike at an immigration detention facility to be force-fed.
Eugenii Glushchenko's weight has dropped from 160 to 120 pounds since he started fasting on June 19.
The 25 percent reduction in weight prompted authorities to seek court orders over fears of permanent organ damage or that he will possibly die.
According to authorities, Glushchenko, 37, refused food either because he wasn’t hungry or said he would eat only when released.
Lawyers for Glushchenko said the hunger strike is actually over the government’s failure to treat his medical conditions, which are not listed in court filings.
Immigration authorities detained Glushchenko, his wife, and their son in September near Lukeville, Arizona, after they sneaked into the United States from Mexico.
His wife and son have since been released.
Court records show that Glushchenko fled Russia after receiving "repeated government death threats" due to his work with Western charities and refusal to pay bribes.
On June 17, he refused to board a van headed to the airport for a scheduled commercial flight to Russia.
A permanent court order issued on July 22 allowed federal authorities to force-feed Glushchenko while he is in custody or until he stops fasting.