Navalny’s mother tells Putin: Hand over my son’s body

She also sent an official letter to Putin with the same demand

By REUTERS
February 21, 2024
A card with images of late Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny is seen among flowers left at the Solovetsky Stone in Moscow on February 20, 2024. — AFP

MOSCOW: Lyudmila Navalnaya, the mother of dead Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, demanded on Tuesday that President Vladimir Putin hand over her son’s body so she could bury him.

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Navalny, 47, fell unconscious and died suddenly on Friday after a walk at the “Polar Wolf” penal colony above the Arctic Circle where he was serving a three-decade sentence, the prison service said.

Speaking in a video filmed front of the prison as small snow flakes swirled in the air, his mother - dressed in black - complained she did not even know where her son’s corpse was and demanded Putin give the order to release it.

“For a fifth day I cannot see him, they aren’t giving me his body and don’t even tell me where he is,” Navalnaya said in the message which was broadcast on the Navalny LIVE YouTube channel.

“I appeal to you, Vladimir Putin. Resolving this issue depends on you alone. Let me finally see my son.

“I demand that Alexei’s body be released immediately so that I can bury him humanely.”

She also sent an official letter to Putin with the same demand.

Navalny’s allies have cited a Russian investigator as saying that the authorities need at least 14 days to conduct various chemical tests on his body and can not therefore hand his corpse over yet.

The West and Navalny’s supporters say Putin is responsible for Navalny’s death. The Kremlin has denied involvement and said that Western claims that Putin was responsible were unacceptable.

Putin has made no public comment on Navalny’s death but it has further deepened a gaping schism in relations between Moscow and the West caused by the nearly two-year Ukraine war.

Meanwhile, Yulia Navalnaya, the widow of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, has asked the European Union to refuse to recognise Russia’s March presidential election, in a step that sharply escalates her campaign against Vladimir Putin.

Navalnaya, whose new account on the social media network X was briefly suspended on Tuesday for reasons that were not immediately clear, has said details and evidence of why and how Navalny was killed will be released soon by her late husband’s allies.

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