HomeTop StoriesRussian opposition leader Alexei Navalny’s body returned to his mother, spokesperson says

Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny’s body returned to his mother, spokesperson says

Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny’s body has been returned to his mother, his spokesperson said Saturday.

Navalny, 47, died in prison, the country’s prison service said last week. He was serving a combined 30 ½-year jail sentence when he died.

“Huge gratitude to everyone who has been demanding this with us. So far Lyudmila Ivanovna is in Salekhard,” Navalny’s spokesperson, Kira Yarmys, said in a translated post on X. “We don’t know whether the authorities will interfere with carrying them out the way the family wants and as Alexey deserves. We will provide information as it becomes available.”

There is no immediate information about what led to his death. The region’s investigative committee has said it launched a “procedural investigation.” 

Russia’s Federal Prison Service had said that Navalny died after feeling ill following a walk. The prison service said an emergency medical team performed all “necessary resuscitation measures” but they were unsuccessful.

His allies had raised concerns about Navalny’s health and the conditions of the jail, saying he had to spend many days in cramped “punishment cells” for minor conduct violations. 

The day before he died, Navalny addressed a court via video link from the penal colony and appeared to be healthy. His mother, Lyudmila Navalny, had also said he appeared “healthy and happy” the last time she saw him, according to a Russian newspaper.

Navalny, Russia’s most outspoken Kremlin critic, was poisoned with a military nerve agent while on a business trip in Russia in 2020 — an attempt on his life that he blamed directly on Russian President Vladimir Putin. For more than a decade, he had led nationwide protests against authorities and ran for office to challenge members of the Russian establishment.

He survived the poisoning attempt after receiving treatment in Germany. The Kremlin denied any involvement in his poisoning. 

In 2021, Navalny decided to return to Russia and upon landing was arrested on charges stemming from a 2014 embezzlement conviction — which he categorically denied. Navalny was sentenced to 2 ½ years in prison for a parole violation linked to that case. 

His allies have also been persecuted, and his anti-corruption fund was declared an extremist organization a few months after his sentencing. The fund was shut down and most of his top staff were forced to flee abroad. 

Navalny was tried on new charges of fraud and contempt of court and was sentenced to another nine years in jail. In August, he was sentenced to 19 more years in a maximum security penal colony on chases of extremism. His allies and the international community have said the sentencing was a Kremlin campaign to keep him in jail forever. Navalny had said that all of the charges against him were politically motivated. 

He spent his final years behind bars as Putin focused on his war in Ukraine. 

News of Navalny’s death, which comes as the Kremlin is preparing to orchestrate another election victory for Putin in March, caused outrage from Western leaders who blamed Putin.

President Joe Biden said in a White House speech that the U.S. did not know what happened to Navalny, but that “there is no doubt” his death “was the consequence of something that Putin and his thugs did.” 

Vice President Kamala Harris said the death was “a further sign of Putin’s brutality,” while Latvian President Edgars Rinkēvičs said in a post on X that Navalny “was just brutally murdered by the Kremlin.”

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said it was “obvious” that Putin was directly behind Navalny’s death” and said the Russian leader must “answer for what he has done.”

The Kremlin responded, calling the allegations “absolutely rabid statements.”

Plans for a funeral have not been announced.

Source link



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

- Advertisment -

Most Popular

Recent Comments