Navalny's mother tells Putin: Hand over my son's body


  • World
  • Tuesday, 20 Feb 2024

Lyudmila Navalnaya, the mother of late Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, and lawyer Vasily Dubkov arrive at the regional department of Russia's Investigative Committee in the town of Salekhard in the Yamal-Nenets Region, Russia February 17, 2024. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov /File Photo

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Lyudmila Navalnaya, the mother of dead Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, demanded on Tuesday that President Vladimir Putin hand over her son's body so she could bury him.

Navalny, 47, fell unconscious and died suddenly on Friday after a walk at the "Polar Wolf" penal colony above the Arctic Circle where he was serving a three-decade sentence, the prison service said.

Speaking in a video filmed front of the prison as small snow flakes swirled in the air, his mother - dressed in black - complained she did not even know where her son's corpse was and demanded Putin give the order to release it.

"For a fifth day I cannot see him, they aren't giving me his body and don't even tell me where he is," Navalnaya said in the message which was broadcast on the Navalny LIVE YouTube channel.

"I appeal to you, Vladimir Putin. Resolving this issue depends on you alone. Let me finally see my son.

"I demand that Alexei's body be released immediately so that I can bury him humanely."

She also sent an official letter to Putin with the same demand.

Navalny's allies have cited a Russian investigator as saying that the authorities need at least 14 days to conduct various chemical tests on his body and can not therefore hand his corpse over yet.

The West and Navalny's supporters say Putin is responsible for Navalny's death. The Kremlin has denied involvement and said that Western claims that Putin was responsible were unacceptable.

Putin has made no public comment on Navalny's death but it has further deepened a gaping schism in relations between Moscow and the West caused by the nearly two-year Ukraine war.

(Reporting by Reuters; Writing by Alexander Marrow; editing by Andrew Osborn)

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