Wednesday 23 August 2017

Russian opposition leader undergoes eye surgery after attack

Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny was attacked outside a conference venue in Moscow (Evgeny Feldman/Pool Photo via AP)
Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny was attacked outside a conference venue in Moscow (Evgeny Feldman/Pool Photo via AP)

Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny has undergone eye surgery in Spain after being attacked last month.

Mr Navalny suffered a severe chemical burn in his right eye when an attacker doused him with a green antiseptic liquid.

Mr Navalny's supporters identified the attacker as a pro-government activist, but police have not made any arrests.

Mr Navalny wrote on Instagram on Tuesday that he had been operated on the previous day at a Barcelona clinic and that doctors expect the vision in his right eye to be restored in several months.

After being denied travel documents for five years Mr Navalny, who is serving a five-year suspended sentence in a dubious embezzlement case, was issued a passport to travel last week.

Mr Navalny, who built a reputation with his investigation into official corruption, spearheaded anti-government rallies in March, Russia's largest and most widespread in years, and has called on his supporters to protest again in June.

On Wednesday the Kremlin published a decree signed by President Vladimir Putin boosting security ahead of the World Cup in 2018 and during the Confederations Cup that will be held in Russia in June and July.

The tightened security measures mean that all protest rallies will be banned in the cities holding the competitions unless they receive permission from authorities and security services - a major blow to Mr Navalny's plans to hold rallies across Russia on June 12.

Mr Navalny tweeted that the June protest should go ahead.

"The basic constitutional rights of Russian citizens cannot be abolished and scrapped by presidential decrees," he said. "No 'special procedure for the approval of rallies' set by Putin will not stand in the way of the anti-corruption rallies on June 12."

AP

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