Russian authorities hand over Alexei Navalny’s body to his mother, spokeswoman says


(MOSCOW) — Russian authorities have given Alexei Navalny’s body back to his mother more than a week after the opposition leader’s death in an Arctic penal colony, according to Navalny’s spokesperson.

Spokeswoman Kira Yarmysh wrote on X, formerly Twitter, that a funeral is to come and that they don’t know yet if authorities will allow the family to carry out the funeral “the way the family wants and as Alexey deserves.” She did not mention if the family will hold a public funeral.

Navalny’s body was taken to the city of Salekhard, located on the Arctic Circle, after he died in a nearby penal colony on Feb. 16, according to Russian officials. His supporters have accused Russian officials of murdering the vocal critical of President Vladimir Putin, who was previously poisoned and nearly died in an apparent assassination attempt.

Russian officials denied the claim that Navalny was murdered in retaliation for his political activity. Navalny’s cause of death has been listed as “natural” on his medical report, according to Navalny’s spokesperson, who relayed the information from his mother.

Navalny’s mother, Lyudmila Navalnaya, had asked local police Friday to open a criminal case against the investigators who she said were withholding her son’s body, on charges of “abuse of a corpse.”

The appeal claimed that the lead investigator into the death of Navalny made threats towards his mother and promised to commit illegal actions with Navalny’s body in order to prevent his burial.

Navalnaya said in a video message posted to YouTube Thursday that the Russian government is blackmailing her and trying to force her to have a secret funeral for her son.

“So, as one of the arguments, the investigator said, ‘time is working against you, because the corpse is decomposing,"” the complaint alleges. “Such words cause irreparable moral harm [to Navalny’s mom], grief from the loss of her son is complemented by an absolutely insulting attitude on the part of the investigative authorities and blackmail,” the document says.

Meanwhile, the White House on Friday announced a tranche of sanctions against Russia and its supporters, including additional measures intended to punish the Kremlin for its alleged role in the death of Navalny.

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