Mother of late Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny shown son's body

Feb. 22, 2024, Russian Opposition Leader Alexei Navalny's mother Lyudmila Navalnaya speaks during a video statement.
Feb. 22, 2024, Russian Opposition Leader Alexei Navalny's mother Lyudmila Navalnaya speaks during a video statement. Copyright AP/Navalny Team
Copyright AP/Navalny Team
By Euronews with AP
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Lyudmila Navalnaya said on Thursday she is resisting pressure from authorities to agree to a secret burial of her son.

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The mother of Alexei Navalny said on Thursday she had been able to see her son's body finally. 

Lyudmila Navalnaya said she is resisting strong pressure from authorities to agree to a secret burial of the late Russian opposition figure outside the public eye.

Speaking in a video statement, she said investigators allowed her to see her son’s body in the morgue. 

Navalnaya reaffirmed the demand to give Navalny’s body to her. 

“They are blackmailing me, they are setting conditions where, when and how my son should be buried,” she said. “They want it to do it secretly without a mourning ceremony.”

Navalny's spokesperson Kira Yarmysh said on X that his mother was also shown a medical certificate stating that the 47-year-old politician died of “natural causes.” 

Yarmysh didn't specify what those were.

On 16 February, Navalny fell unconscious and died at an Arctic penal colony, where he was serving a three-decade prison sentence. 

Officials have not confirmed the cause of death, though Navalny supporters and Western politicians point the finger at Putin. 

Navalny’s mother has filed a lawsuit at a court in Salekhard contesting officials’ refusal to release her son’s body. A closed-door hearing has been scheduled for 4 March. 

On Tuesday, she appealed to Putin to release her son’s remains so that she could bury him with dignity.

In the video released Thursday, Navalnaya said she had spent nearly 24 hours in the Salekhard office of the Investigative Committee. Here officials told her that they had determined his cause of death, with the paperwork ready. Yet, she must first agree to a secret funeral.

“They want to take me to the outskirts of the cemetery to a fresh grave and say: ‘Here lies your son.’ I don’t agree to this. I want you too — to whom Alexey is dear, for whom his death was a personal tragedy — to have the opportunity to say goodbye to him,” she said.

Over the past decades, the Navalny rose to fame as the fiercest opponent of Russian President Vladimir Putin, crusading against official corruption and staging massive anti-Kremlin protests.

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