SPIEGEL: German medical experts request documents about Gebrev's poisoning because of Navalny

While investigating the case of Alexei Navalny, German medical doctors have made an analogy with a poison attack in Bulgaria, as there are striking similarities to the case of the Russian opposition activist, wrote the German SPIEGEL, citing an investigation with the Bellingcat platform.

According to a finding from the Berlin Charité hospital, Navalny was poisoned. The same thing happened in April 2015 for the Bulgarian arms manufacturer Emilian Gebrev. He had wondered about a suddenly itchy eye - and later collapsed and fell into a coma. His son and one of his managers suddenly felt bad too. Then doctors found poisoning, but could not determine the substance used. 

Gebrev only barely survived the attack, and the culprits were not initially identified. Three years later, Russian ex-double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter collapsed in a park in Salisbury, UK. In this case, the investigators succeeded in determining the exact substance: the two had been poisoned with the extremely dangerous chemical weapon Novitschok, a so-called organophosphate.

The alleged perpetrators are considered to be agents of the Russian military intelligence service GRU, whose traces after Salisbury have been traced almost completely. Skripal and his daughter, who was also ill, survived the attempted murder.

Gebrev was released from the hospital about a month after being poisoned. However, later Gebrew had to be hospitalised again with symptoms of poisoning. He also survived the second alleged attack.

When Gebrev heard of the poisoning in UK, he recognised his case and turned to prosecutors again.

Journalists from Bellingcat and SPIEGEL exposed further connections between the two murder attempts and a total of eight GRU agents involved in the operation in Bulgaria. Bulgarian prosecutors filed charges against three of these GRU officials at the beginning of this year. The conclusion is an attempted murder with an unidentified organophosphatic substance that "threatened the lives of many". After Gebrew knows the alleged authors, possible motives also become clear. He had delivered arms to both Georgia and Ukraine.

The fact that German doctors have now contacted their Bulgarian colleagues in the Navalny case is as understandable as it is eloquent. Obviously, they consider it possible that the same or many similar substances were used. According to the first statement of Charité, Navalny was exposed to an active ingredient from the group of cholinesterase inhibitors - which includes organophosphates, but also other substances.

According to SPIEGEL and Bellingcat information, the specialists now assume that Navalny was exposed to a substance from this family of organophosphates. These include insecticides such as E605, but also nerve toxins such as sarin and the even more potent Novitschok, developed in Russian laboratories. The classic treatment is the administration of atropine as described by Charité.

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