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Navalny's mother calls on Putin to hand over her son's body “without delay”

Photo: Agence France-Presse Flowers surround a portrait of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, February 20, 2024.

France Media Agency in Moscow

2:46 p.m.

  • Europe

Alexei Navalny's mother on Tuesday called on Vladimir Putin to hand over her son's body “without delay”, with the opponent's team accusing the authorities of hiding his remains to cover up a “murder “.

For its part, the United States announced for Friday “a set of major sanctions” against Russia following the death at age 47 in an Arctic prison of the Russian president's number one adversary.< /p>

The European Union, for its part, summoned the Russian charge d'affaires in Brussels to express its “indignation”, while Poland, Italy and Belgium in turn summoned Russian ambassadors in their respective capitals.

The Western world has strongly denounced the death of Alexeï Navalny for which it holds Vladimir Putin responsible.

Since his death was announced on February 16, the opponent's mother and a lawyer have sought in vain to gain access to his body.

But, according to the deceased's team, Russian investigators said they would not return his remains for at least 14 days in order to carry out an “expertise”. A deadline, which, according to lawyers, could be extended for weeks.

In a video broadcast on Tuesday, his mother Lyoudmila Navalnaïa therefore addressed the Russian president directly to win his case, while Mr. Putin did not comment publicly on the death of his main opponent after three years in prison.

“I appeal to you, Vladimir Putin, the solution to this problem depends only on you. Let me finally see my son. I ask that Alexei's body be returned without delay so that I can bury him in a humane manner,” she said, filmed near the penal colony where her son died.

“Return Alexei’s body! »

The Kremlin has not yet responded to this request. On the other hand, on Tuesday he rejected the accusations of Alexeï Navalny's wife, who claimed the day before that the Russian president had had her husband killed in prison.

“These are gross and completely unfounded accusations (made) against the Russian head of state but given that Yulia Navalnaya became a widow a few days ago, I will not make comments,” said his spokesperson, Dmitry Peskov.

“I don’t care how a killer’s spokesperson comments on my words. Return Alexei's body and let us bury him with dignity, don't stop people from saying goodbye to him,” replied Yulia Navalnaïa, on her account X.

Shortly after this message, his account was suspended for usage policy violations, before being reinstated less than an hour later.

European Commissioner Thierry Breton warned the general director of this social network in this regard that such “arbitrary” suspensions were not acceptable.

In a video published on Monday, Yulia Navalnaïa promised to take over from her husband and continue her fight.

On Monday, she attended a meeting of EU foreign ministers during which she called on the 27 not to recognize the result of the Russian presidential election in mid -March. This election should allow Mr. Putin to obtain a new mandate, in the absence of any opposition, against a backdrop of merciless repression and a campaign of intimidation against any dissenting voice since the launch of the attack against Ukraine on February 24, 2022.

400 arrests

In Russia, modest attempts to pay homage to the opponent were thus repressed.

According to the specialized NGO OVD-Info, nearly 400 people were arrested by the police in around forty Russian cities for wanting to honor his memory, in particular by laying flowers or lighting candles .

The Kremlin spokesperson on Tuesday deemed these arrests justified. “Law enforcement acts within the framework of the law,” said Dmitry Peskov.

Moreover, Mr. Peskov described Mr. Putin's promotion of senior prison officials on Monday as routine, three days after Mr. Navalny's death.

“These are normal processes of advancement,” he commented.

The opponent, who was serving a 19-year prison sentence for “extremism,” died on February 16 in custody, according to the prison services.

After miraculously surviving a poisoning in August 2020, then being treated in Germany, this man, who became popular thanks to his investigations into the corruption of Russian power, chose to return to Russia in January 2021.

He was immediately arrested and successively sentenced to increasingly harsh sentences, in increasingly difficult conditions of detention, often in the cold of an isolation cell.< /p>

“Gang Leader”

A long-time opponent and friend of Alexeï Navalny, Ilia Iachine, imprisoned in Russia for having denounced the assault on Ukraine, has promised to continue his fight.

In a letter released Tuesday by those close to him, he also said he was “convinced” that the master of the Kremlin for a quarter of a century had “ordered” Mr. Navalny to be killed.

“In Putin’s understanding, this is how power asserts itself: with murder, cruelty and revelatory revenge. This thought is not that of a statesman. It’s that of a gang leader,” said Ilia Iachine.

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116