Home / News / Kremlin critic Alexey Navalny’s mother says she saw his body and was pressured to hold a secret funeral – Chicago Tribune

Kremlin critic Alexey Navalny’s mother says she saw his body and was pressured to hold a secret funeral – Chicago Tribune


(CNN) — Mother of Russian opposition politician Alexey NavalnyMiss Wendy, who died in an Arctic penal colony last week, said she saw her son’s body on Thursday and was pressured to hold a secret funeral.

Lyudmila Navalnaya She said she saw her son’s body on Wednesday at a morgue in the Siberian town of Salekhard, near the prison where Navalny has been held since December, then was denied access to him for days after his death.

Navalny’s spokesperson Kira Yarmysh told X that she had also seen a medical report stating that the cause of death was natural. Wife of the late Kremlin critic, Yulia NavalnayaShe reiterated on Thursday that she believes Russian President Vladimir Putin killed her husband and urged the media not to be misled by Russian government rhetoric.

Navalny’s mother said in a video posted on her son’s YouTube channel: “According to the law, they were supposed to give me Alexey’s body immediately, but they haven’t yet. “Instead they are blackmailing me and setting conditions on where, when and how Alexey will be buried.”

“I am recording this video because they started threatening me. “They look into my eyes and tell me that if I do not accept a secret funeral, they will do something to my son’s body,” he said.

Navalnaya claimed that an investigator named Voropayev told her: “Time is working against you. The body is decomposing.” He did not give the official’s full name.

He also claimed that the Russian Investigative Committee, which was investigating the circumstances surrounding his son’s death, wanted to bury his son’s body “secretly, without saying goodbye”. He said investigators “claimed they knew the cause of death and had all the medical legal documentation” and that he signed the medical death certificate.

Ivan Zhdanov, director of the Navalny Anti-Corruption Foundation, told Russian journalist Alexander Plyushchev that the committee set numerous conditions for Navalny’s mother to comply with before releasing the body.

These conditions, he claimed, included keeping the funerals “among the family” and not announcing them to prevent crowds gathering, and transporting the body to Moscow on a private plane. He also said that the family should be accompanied by a committee employee before the funeral, and that Navalny’s body should be held in Moscow or the Vladimir region before burial, because the committee was “scared”. The morgue will be raided.”

Zhdanov said the family will be able to obtain Navalny’s death certificate only if these conditions are met.

Zhdanov stated that Navalny’s mother was first not allowed to choose the cemetery she chose, and then both parties agreed that the funeral would be held at the Khovanskoye cemetery in Moscow, and that the parties did not reach an agreement on the farewell hall. Zhdanov added that Navalny’s mother was pressured to accept these conditions.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told CNN’s Matthew Chance that he had not seen Navalny’s mother’s comments about her son’s body and the problems she allegedly had with investigators.

“Unfortunately, I cannot comment on this as I have not seen his words,” Peskov said. He added that the Kremlin is “dealing with different issues of great importance for our country.”

Navalny’s wife, Navalnayahad previously accused Russian authorities of “hiding” his body in order to conceal the cause of death. He said they were “lying pathetically” and were waiting for “tracks of another Putin Novichok to disappear.” The Kremlin said the investigation into the circumstances surrounding Navalny’s death was “ongoing” and the results were “unknown” at this time.

Navalny’s claims that he saw his mother’s body came almost a week after her death was announced on February 16. The news sparked a harsh reaction from Western leaders, including US President Joe Biden. “What happened to Navalny is further evidence of Putin’s brutality.”

Russia, meanwhile, accused the United States of “hysteria” over his death. “The United States acts as both prosecutor, judge and punisher, and this hysteria over Navalny’s death is a prime example of this,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told a G20 press conference in Rio on Thursday. de Janeiro, Brazil. “These people have no right to interfere in our internal affairs, especially considering their own problems,” Lavrov said.

US President Joe Biden met with Navalny’s wife and daughter in California on Thursday to offer his condolences and express his “admiration” for Navalny’s “extraordinary courage and anti-corruption legacy.”

Navalny was Russia’s most high-profile opposition leader and spent years criticizing Putin, who has been in power for almost a quarter of a century, at great personal risk. His death came weeks before the death toll in the country presidential elections This meeting, scheduled for March 17, is widely seen by the international community as more than a formality that will ensure Putin’s fifth term in power.

He returned to Russia in 2021 from Germany, where he was treated after being poisoned with Novichok, a Soviet-era nerve agent. Upon arrival, Navalny was quickly arrested on charges he denied as politically motivated and spent the rest of his life in prison.

The Russian prison service said Navalny “felt unwell after a walk” in the penal colony in Siberia and lost consciousness “almost immediately.”

Navalny was sentenced to 19 years in prison in August after being found guilty of creating an extremist community, financing extremist activists and various other crimes. He was already serving an 11-and-a-half-year sentence in a maximum security facility for fraud and other alterations that he denied.

He was initially imprisoned in a penal colony about 150 miles east of Moscow, but his lawyers said in December that they had lost contact with him for almost three weeks. After making 680 requests to locate him, his team announced on December 25 that it had “found” Navalny more than 1,600 kilometers away, at the IK-3 penal colony in Kharp, known as the “Arctic Wolf.”

Navalny spent his last weeks in the IK-3 colony; here he described his “freezing” conditions to the Moscow court, telling them that he had been sleeping under a newspaper to stay warm.

This is a developing story and will be updated

CNN Cable
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