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Navalny’s Mother Calls On Putin To Release Body

Navalny's allies have said she mother has been barred from morgues and was on Monday told by investigators that his body could be kept for "at least two weeks".


FILE: Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny stands inside a glass cell during a court hearing at the Babushkinsky district court in Moscow on February 20, 2021. The Kremlin’s most prominent opponent Alexei Navalny faces two court decisions on Saturday that could seal a judge’s ruling to jail him for several years, after he returned to Russia following a poisoning attack. Kirill KUDRYAVTSEV / AFP

 

The mother of Alexei Navalny urged Russian President Vladimir Putin to “immediately” release the body of her son, in her first comments since his death in an Arctic prison.

Putin’s main political opponent died in his penal colony on Friday, Russian authorities said. His team says the 47-year-old was murdered.

His widow, Yulia Navalnaya, who has vowed to continue her husband’s work, echoed his mother’s call and repeated accusations against Putin over Navalny’s death.

Navalny’s mother, Lyudmila Navalnaya, travelled to the remote IK-3 penal colony on Saturday, the morning after his death was announced, and has since been barred from seeing his body.

“I appeal to you, Vladimir Putin. The solution to the issue depends only on you,” she said, dressed all in black, in a video published by his team.

“Let me finally see my son. I demand that Alexei’s body be released immediately so that I can bury him in a humane way.”

Behind her was the barbed wire of the IK-3 prison above the Arctic Circle — one of Russia’s harshest jails and the place where Navalny spent his last weeks.

“For the fifth day, I cannot see him. They don’t give me his body and I am not even told where he is,” Lyudmila Navalnaya said.

Navalny’s allies have said she mother has been barred from morgues and was on Monday told by investigators that his body could be kept for “at least two weeks”.

Navalny’s team also published a written letter to Putin by Lyudmila Navalnaya — who is not a public figure — making the demand.

The Kremlin has refused to say when the body will be handed over and Putin has been silent on the death of his main political opponent.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov on Tuesday brushed off Yulia Navalnaya’s statement that Putin killed her husband as “unfounded and vulgar”.

“I do not give a damn how the press secretary of a murderer comments on my words,” Navalnaya shot back on social media.

“Give back the body of Alexei and let us bury him with dignity. Do not stop people from bidding farewell to him,” Navalnaya said.

READ ALSO: European Countries Summon Russian Diplomats Over Navalny’s Death

 ‘Let us bury him with dignity’

Russia detained hundreds of mourners in the days after Navalny’s death.

Yulia Navalnaya’s freshly created account on the social media site X was suspended for 50 minutes on Tuesday, shortly after her remarks against the Kremlin.

The company then reactivated it without an explanation.

On Monday, she had posted an emotional video appeal on the platform accusing Putin of killing Navalny.

She announced she would continue her husband’s fight against the Kremlin and met European Union foreign ministers.

Her team said on Tuesday she had urged the 27-nation bloc not to recognise Russia’s forthcoming presidential election — which is likely to see Putin extend his rule until at least 2030.

“Do not recognise this election,” Navalnaya said, according to comments published by her team on social media.

“A president who killed his main political opponent cannot be legitimate by definition,” she added.

She also urged the EU to “always make the distinction between Putin and Russia.”

‘Demonstrative revenge’ 

“People running from war and dictatorship are not your enemies,” she said, calling on the bloc to “help” Russians leaving their country.

Hundreds of thousands of Russians fled abroad after Putin sent troops to Ukraine.

The West has accused the Kremlin of being behind Navalny’s death, which came three years into his imprisonment.

Navalny’s death has shocked liberal Russians.

His imprisoned friend Ilya Yashin, who is serving eight and a half years for denouncing the Ukraine offensive, said in a message from prison on Tuesday he had “no doubt” Navalny had been killed.

“I am sure that he (Putin) ordered the killing,” Yashin said in a message published through his lawyers on social media, calling it “demonstrative revenge”.

Yashin, a key figure in the Russian opposition who was not in Navalny’s team but was close to him, was sentenced last year.

Unlike most Putin critics, he chose to stay in Russia after Moscow launched its Ukraine offensive, inspired in part by Navalny’s defiant return to the country.

AFP