Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny’s body handed over to his mother

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MOSCOW: The body of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny has been handed over to his mother more than a week after he died, CNN reported, citing Navalny’s spokesperson Kira Yarmysh’s statement.

In a post shared on social media, Yarmysh stated, “Alexey’s body was handed over to his mother. Many thanks to all those who demanded this with us.” She stated that Navalny’s mother, Lyudmila Navalnaya, is still in Salekhard, the Arctic town where her son’s body was being held.

On February 16, Alexei Navalny died while he was behind bars in a nearby penal colony. According to the Russian Press Service, Navalny “felt unwell after a walk” and “almost immediately” lost consciousness, CNN reported.

Yarmysh stated that plans regarding the funeral of Navalny have not been made yet. She added, “We do not know if the authorities will interfere to carry it out as the family wants and as Alexey deserves. We will inform you as soon as there is news.”

Navalny’s family and colleagues have blamed Russian President Vladimir Putin for his death. The death of Alexei Navalny comes ahead of presidential election set to be held in Russia in March.

Alexei Navalny’s wife, Yulia Navalnaya, accused Putin of ordering that the body be held to hide cause of Navalny’s death and out of fear that large crowds will attend his funeral. The allegations have been denied by Kremlin, according to CNN report.

For past several days, Navalny’s family has requested Russian authorities to release his body. Alexei Navalny’s mother Lyudmila Navalnaya travelled to Salekhard to recover the body shortly after her son’s death. However, her request was repeatedly rebuffed by Russian authorities.

Meanwhile, Alexei Navalny’s wife and daughter met US President Joe Biden in San Francisco on February 22. During the meeting with Yulia Navalnaya and Dasha Navalnaya, Biden expressed his “heartfelt condolences” following the death of Russian leader in prison. He expressed his admiration for Alexei Navalny’s extraordinary courage and his legacy of fighting against corruption.

“The President expressed his admiration for Aleksey Navalny’s extraordinary courage and his legacy of fighting against corruption and for a free and democratic Russia in which the rule of law applies equally to everyone,” the statement read.

Joe Biden also emphasised that Alexei Navalny’s legacy will carry on through people across Russia and around the world mourning his loss and fighting for freedom, democracy, and human rights.

The statement released by White House reads, “He affirmed that his Administration will announce major new sanctions against Russia tomorrow in response to Aleksey’s death, Russia’s repression and aggression, and its brutal and illegal war in Ukraine.” (ANI)

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