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Russian prison authorities release Navalny's body

by Elsa Court and The Kyiv Independent news desk February 24, 2024 6:21 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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The body of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny has been released to his mother, Navalny's spokesperson Kira Yarmysh announced on social media Feb. 24.

"Many thanks to all those who demanded this with us," Yarmysh said.

Navalny, Putin's main political opponent, died on Feb. 16 in a penal colony in the town of Kharp, Yamal Nenets Autonomous District. He had been convicted in several fabricated criminal cases as part of the Kremlin's crackdown on dissent.

Leaders around the world have blamed Russian President Vladimir Putin for his death. It remains unclear whether the harsh prison conditions caused his death or was an intentional murder.

Navalny's mother said on Feb. 22 that the authorities threatened that they would only transfer the body to her if she agreed to a secret funeral, as opposed to a public one.

On Feb. 23, Navalny's team said that the investigators had threatened Navalny's mother and issued an ultimatum. They said that if she did not agree to a secret funeral within three hours, they would bury Navalny at the penal colony, according to Navalny's team.

Belarus Weekly: Tsikhanouskaya urges democracies to ‘show their teeth’ after Navalny’s death
Belarusian opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya urged democracies to “show their teeth” after the death of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny in a Russian prison. The same week, a fifth Belarusian political prisoner died in custody. Meanwhile, early balloting for parliamentary election…

The funeral is still pending. We do not know if the authorities will interfere to carry it out as the family wants and as Alexei deserves," Yarmysh said.

"We will inform you as soon as there is news."

Yulia Navalnaya, Navalny's widow, lashed out at Russian dictator Vladimir Putin in a video released earlier in the day on Feb. 24, criticizing Russian authorities for their failure to release Navalny's remains.

"This is not even hatred - this is some kind of Satanism, paganism. What are you planning to do with his body? How far will you go to mock the man you killed?" Navalnaya said.

Believers of the Orthodox Christian faith typically commemorate nine days and then 40 days after a person's death.

UK announces sanctions against 6 Russians in charge of prison where Navalny was held
The U.K.’s sanctions will specifically target six individuals “responsible for the custody” of Navalny, ban them from traveling to the U.K., and have their assets frozen.
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