Navalny’s funeral in Russia: Family struggles to find hearse to carry his body

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MOSCOW (Russia):  The family of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, who died two weeks ago in a penal colony in Siberia, faced difficulty in procuring a hearse to drive his body to church ahead of his funeral ceremony on Friday, CNN reported.

Navalny’s team said that attempts to hire a hearse to drive Navalny’s body to his funeral have been thwarted by unknown people, the US news outlet said, adding that Navalny’s team alleges the body was held in order to pressure the family into agreeing to hold a private funeral.

Navalny team’s spokeswoman, Kira Yarmysh claimed that drivers had been “called by unknown people and threatened not to take Alexey’s body anywhere,” CNN said.

Yarmysh said she had been told that “no hearse agrees to take the body there.” Navalny’s funeral will be held at the Church of the Icon of the Mother of God in Moscow’s Maryino district, where the opposition leader lived. He will then be buried at Borisov Cemetery.

Navalny’s team had initially planned a public farewell and funeral for the late Russian opposition leader for Thursday, but they were told that there were “no available cemetery workers who can dig a grave,” Ivan Zhdanov, the director of Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation, said.

Many venues claimed that they were busy, or refused the booking once Navalny’s name was mentioned, while one venue explicitly said they were forbidden from working with Navalny’s team, Yarmysh said previously, as CNN reported.

Navalny died at the age of 47 on February 16 in the Siberian penal colony, where he was serving a 19-year sentence after being found guilty of creating an extremist community, financing extremist activists and various other crimes in August.

He had spent years criticising Putin and his death came weeks before the presidential elections in Russia scheduled to begin on March 15.
Navalny’s death was met with grief and anger across the world as well as inside Russia and his wife, Yulia Navalnaya, has blamed Russian President Vladimir Putin for her husband’s death.

The Kremlin has rejected any allegations of involvement in Navalny’s death. (ANI)

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