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Navalny's team says no official confirmation of his death until tomorrow

by Martin Fornusek February 16, 2024 8:16 PM 2 min read
Flowers and candles are left at a memorial on Feb. 16, 2024, in front of the Russian embassy in Berlin, after the announcement that the Kremlin's most prominent critic, Alexei Navalny, had died in an Arctic prison. (John MacDougall/AFP via Getty Images)
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Alexei Navalny's relatives have not yet been officially notified of his death, the Russian oppositionist's colleague, Ivan Zhdanov, said on YouTube on Feb. 16.

According to the instructions of Russia's Justice Ministry, the prison is obliged to inform Navalny's loved ones within 24 hours.

"Alexei's (Navalny) lawyer will fly to Kharp late at night," said Navalny's press secretary, Kira Yarmysh.

"He will arrive early tomorrow morning along with Alexei's relatives. Until this moment, we cannot have any confirmation (of his death)," she said.

Navalny's wife, Yulia Navalnaya, and his mother, Lyudmila, have already publicly commented on the reports.

Yulia Navalnaya said that Russian dictator Vladimir Putin and his regime must face justice for "what they've done to our country, to my family, and to my husband."

Lyudmila Navalnaya noted that she saw her son "alive, healthy, and cheerful" on Feb. 12 during a visit to the penal colony where he has been held.

Russian media reported on Feb. 16 that Russian opposition leader Navalny died in prison. Navalny was being held in a penal colony in Russia's far northern Yamal-Nenets Autonomous District.

According to the prison service, Navalny supposedly lost consciousness and could not be revived.

The penal colony that Navalny was held in is located in a remote settlement north of the Arctic Circle, with "tough conditions" and limited access to letter delivery, according to Zhdanov, the head of the Anti-Corruption Foundation established by Navalny.

Navalny was previously held in the IK-6 Melekhovo high-security prison in Russia's Vladimir Oblast.

Navalny had been serving a 2.5-year prison sentence since 2021 and a separate 9-year sentence on fraud charges since 2022.

A Russian court also sentenced Navalny to 19 years in a maximum security prison in August 2023 on extremism charges for creating the Anti-Corruption Foundation.

All these cases have been recognized as politically motivated and fabricated by international human rights organizations and governments.

Navalny was poisoned in Russia in 2020 and flown for treatment in Germany. German doctors said he had been poisoned with a Novichok nerve agent — a chemical weapon produced by the Russian government.

The Insider, Bellingcat, CNN, and Der Spiegel published an investigation according to which Navalny had been poisoned by agents of Russia’s Federal Security Service. They also identified the agents' names.

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