Navalny’s body returned to mother, spokeswoman says

Image caption,

Alexei Navalny died on February 16 in a Russian prison within the Arctic Circle

The body of a leading Russian opposition figure Alexei Navalny was returned to his mother, his spokeswoman said.

In a post on X, Kira Yarmysh thanked everyone who had demanded that authorities hand over his remains.

“The funeral has yet to take place,” she wrote.

Navalny’s mother Lyudmila was reportedly told to agree to a “secret” funeral. If she refused, he would be buried in the prison colony where he died.

She has spent the past week in the town close to the prison where he died, trying first to confirm the location of his body and then to demand it be returned to her.

After signing a death certificate stating that he had died of natural causes, she was given three hours to agree to a “secret” funeral for her son.

If she did not agree, he would be buried on the grounds of the prison where he died, Ms Yarmysh said his mother had been informed.

However, Lyudmila had apparently refused to negotiate with the authorities.

Ms Yarmysh said funeral plans were still unclear.

“We don’t know if the authorities will interfere with its implementation in the way the family wants and the way Alexei deserves,” she said.

Earlier on Saturday, Navalny’s widow, Yulia Navalnaya, accused Vladimir Putin of holding her late husband’s body “hostage” and demanded its release without conditions.

“Give us my husband’s body,” she demanded in a video speech.

“You tortured him alive, and now you continue to torture him to death. You mock the remains of the dead.”

Mrs. Navalnaya once again accused the Russian president of being behind her husband’s death.

The Kremlin has denied the allegations, calling the Western response to the deaths “hysterical.”

Navalny died on February 16 in a Russian prison within the Arctic Circle.

Details about what happened to him remain scarce. His team has offered security officers €20,000 ($22,000; £17,000) as a reward and help leaving Russia in exchange for information about his death in prison.

For years he was the Russian leader’s most high-profile critic.

In August 2020, Navalny was poisoned using the nerve agent Novichok by a team of potential assassins from the Russian secret services.

He was airlifted to Germany and recovered there before returning to Russia in January 2021, where he was jailed.

Attempts to commemorate his death were met with a heavy-handed response from Russian authorities, with makeshift monuments cleared and hundreds arrested.

Leave a Comment