April 12, 2024

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The spokeswoman says Navalny's body was returned to his mother

The spokeswoman says Navalny's body was returned to his mother

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Alexei Navalny died on February 16 in a Russian prison inside the Arctic Circle

The body of a prominent figure in the Russian opposition Alexei Navalny His spokeswoman says he has been returned to his mother.

In a post on the X website, Kira Yarmysh thanked everyone who asked the authorities to hand over his remains.

“The funeral has not yet taken place,” she wrote.

Navalny's mother, Lyudmila, was reportedly asked to agree to his “secret” burial. If she refuses, he will be buried in the prison colony where he died.

She spent the past week in the town near the prison where he died, and first tried to confirm the location of his body and then demand that it be returned to her.

After signing a death certificate saying he died of natural causes, she was then given three hours to agree to a “secret” funeral for her son.

Yarmysh said his mother was told that if she did not agree, he would be buried on the grounds of the prison where he died.

However, Lyudmila apparently refused to negotiate with the authorities.

Ms Yarmish said funeral plans were still unclear.

“We don’t know if the authorities will intervene and implement the order the way the family wants and the way Alexei deserves,” she said.

Earlier on Saturday, Navalny's widow, Yulia Navalnaya, accused Vladimir Putin of holding her late husband's body “hostage” and demanded its unconditional release.

She demanded in a video message: “Give us my husband’s body.”

“You tortured him alive, and now you continue to torture him dead. You mock the remains of the dead.”

Navalnaya once again accused the Russian President of being behind her husband's death.

The Kremlin denied the allegations and described the Western reaction to the death as “hysterical.”

Navalny died on February 16 in a Russian prison inside the Arctic Circle.

Details about what happened to him are still scarce. His team offered security officers a €20,000 ($22,000; £17,000) reward and help in leaving Russia in exchange for information about his death in prison.

For years, he was the Russian leader's most prominent critic.

In August 2020, Navalny was poisoned with the nerve agent Novichok by a team of would-be assassins from Russian intelligence.

He was flown to Germany, and recovered there before returning to Russia in January 2021, where he was imprisoned.

Attempts to commemorate his death were met with a severe response by Russian authorities, with temporary monuments removed and hundreds arrested.

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