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Le Monde
Le Monde
24 Feb 2024


Images Le Monde.fr

The body of late Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny has been handed to his mother, more than a week after he died in an Arctic prison colony, his spokesperson said on Saturday, February 24. Navalny, President Vladimir Putin's most vocal critic, died on February 16 in one of Russia's toughest prisons in northern Siberia, where he was serving a 19-year sentence on charges widely seen as political retribution for his opposition.

"Alexei's body was handed over to his mother. Many thanks to all those who demanded this with us," Navalny spokesperson Kira Yarmysh said on X, .

For the past week, Russian authorities had refused to give Lyudmila Navalnaya custody of her son's body, after she travelled to the town of Salekhard in the Yamalo-Nenets region, the nearest settlement to the prison colony where Navalny died.

Navalny's team on Friday said they had filed a lawsuit to obtain the body, alleging that local investigators had threatened to bury him on the prison grounds if his mother did not agree to a "secret" funeral.

Yarmysh said plans for the funeral were still unclear. "Lyudmila Ivanovna is still in Salekhard. The funeral is still pending. We do not know if the authorities will interfere to carry it out as the family wants and as Alexei deserves," she said.

His team said previously the Kremlin was trying to block a public funeral, which could turn into a show of support for Navalny's movement and his opposition to Putin. The Russian leader, who famously never said Navalny's name in public, has not commented on the death of his most vocal critic.

Le Monde