Mom of Kremlin critic Alexey Navalny says she has seen his physique, is being pressured to carry secret funeral – Chicago Tribune

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By Calvin S. Nelson

(CNN) — The mom of Russian opposition politician Alexey Navalny, who died in an Arctic penal colony final week, mentioned Thursday she had seen her son’s physique and was being pressured to carry a secret funeral.

Lyudmila Navalnaya mentioned she had seen her son’s physique on Wednesday in a morgue in Salekhard, the Siberian city close to the jail the place Navalny had been held since December, after being denied entry to it for days after his demise.

She additionally noticed a medical report stating his reason behind demise as being pure, Navalny’s spokesperson, Kira Yarmysh, mentioned on X. The late Kremlin critic’s spouse, Yulia Navalnaya, reiterated on Thursday that she believes Russian President Vladimir Putin killed her husband and urged the media to not be diverted by Russian authorities narratives.

In a video posted on her son’s YouTube channel, Navalny’s mom mentioned: “In keeping with the regulation, they need to have given me Alexey’s physique immediately, however they haven’t completed it but. As an alternative, they blackmail me and set circumstances for the place, when and the way Alexey ought to be buried.”

“I’m recording this video as a result of they began threatening me. Trying into my eyes they are saying that if I don’t comply with a secret funeral they are going to do one thing with my son’s physique,” she mentioned.

Navalnaya claimed that an investigator named Voropayev instructed her: “Time is working towards you. The corpse is decomposing.” She didn’t give the complete title of the official.

She additionally claimed the Russian Investigative Committee wanting into the circumstances of her son’s demise wish to bury his physique “secretly with out saying goodbye.” She mentioned the investigators “declare that they know the reason for demise and that they’ve all of the medical authorized paperwork,” and that she had signed his medical demise certificates.

Ivan Zhdanov, the director of Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Basis, instructed Russian journalist Alexander Plyushchev the committee had set quite a few circumstances for Navalny’s mom to observe earlier than they’d launch the physique.

Amongst these circumstances, he claimed, had been that that any funeral ought to be saved “among the many household” and never introduced, to stop crowds from gathering, and that the physique ought to be transported to Moscow on a particular aircraft. The household would additionally must be accompanied by an worker of the committee always earlier than the funeral, he mentioned, and Navalny’s physique must be saved in both the Moscow or Vladimir area previous to burial as a result of the committee was “afraid that the morgue will probably be stormed.”

Solely when these circumstances had been met would the household obtain Navalny’s demise certificates, Zhdanov mentioned.

Navalny’s mom was first denied the cemetery of her selection, after which each events agreed to maintain the funeral at Khovanskoye cemetery in Moscow, Zhdanov mentioned, including that the events hadn’t agreed on the farewell corridor. Navalny’s mom was pressured into agreeing to these circumstances, Zhdanov added.

Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov instructed CNN’s Matthew Probability that he had not seen the feedback from Navalny’s mom relating to her son’s physique and the problems she claims she is experiencing with investigators.

“Sadly, I’ve not seen her phrases so I can’t touch upon that,” Peskov mentioned. He added that the Kremlin was “coping with completely different points that are of nice significance for our nation.”

Navalny’s spouse, Navalnaya, had earlier accused Russian authorities of “hiding” his physique in an try to disguise the reason for his demise. She mentioned they had been “mendacity pathetically” and ready for “traces of one other of Putin’s Novichoks to vanish.” The Kremlin has mentioned an investigation into the circumstances round Navalny’s demise is “underway” and the outcomes are at the moment “unknown.”

Navalny’s mom’s claims to have seen his physique come nearly per week after his demise was introduced on February 16. The information drew barbed response from Western leaders, together with US President Joe Biden, who pinned the blame on his Russian counterpart, saying that “what has occurred to Navalny is but extra proof of Putin’s brutality.”

Russia in the meantime has accused the US of “hysteria,” relating to his demise. “The US acts because the prosecutors, because the choose, and because the punisher multi functional, and this hysteria relating to the demise of Navalny is a main instance of that,” Russian Overseas Minister Sergey Lavrov mentioned Thursday at a G20 press convention in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. “These individuals don’t have any proper to intrude in our dwelling affairs, particularly given their very own issues,” Lavrov mentioned.

US President Joe Biden met with Navalny’s spouse and daughter in California on Thursday, the place he expressed his condolences and his “admiration” for Navalny’s “extraordinary braveness and his legacy of preventing towards corruption.”

Navalny was Russia’s highest-profile opposition chief and spent years criticizing Putin, who has been in energy for practically 1 / 4 of a century, at nice private danger. His demise got here weeks earlier than the nation’s presidential elections scheduled for March 17, which is extensively seen by the worldwide group as little greater than a formality that may safe Putin a fifth time period in energy.

He returned to Russia in 2021 from Germany, the place he had been handled after being poisoned with Novichok, a Soviet-era nerve agent. On arrival Navalny was swiftly arrested – on costs he dismissed as politically motivated – and spent the remainder of his life in jail.

The Russian jail service mentioned Navalny “felt unwell after a stroll” in his Siberian penal colony and “nearly instantly” misplaced consciousness.

Navalny was sentenced to 19 years in jail in August after being discovered responsible of making an extremist group, financing extremist activists and varied different crimes. He was already serving sentences of 11-and-a-half years in a most safety facility on fraud and different modifications he denies.

He was initially imprisoned in a penal colony about 150 miles east of Moscow, however his attorneys in December mentioned that they had misplaced contact with him for practically three weeks. After submitting 680 requests to find him, his staff introduced on December 25 that that they had “discovered” Navalny greater than 1,000 miles away on the IK-3 penal colony in Kharp, referred to as “Polar Wolf.”

Navalny spent his last weeks within the IK-3 colony, the place he described the “freezing” circumstances to a Moscow court docket, telling them he slept below a newspaper for heat.

This can be a growing story and will probably be up to date

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