Alexei Navalny’s team accuses Russia of “murdering” him and storing his remains “to cover their tracks”

Russia remains silent this Saturdayabout the sudden death of Kremlin opponent Alexei Navalny in prison, whose entourage accused authorities of storing his remains to “cover their tracks.” Despite the repression and the risk of arrest, hundreds of Russians took part in small rallies on Saturday to honor the famous Kremlin critic who died the day before in a prison in the Russian Arctic.

Since Friday, Police arrested 231 people at these rallies, according to the human rights organization OVD-Info. Alexei Navalny’s team said authorities are refusing to hand over his remains to his mother, saying the cause of death has not yet been determined.

“It is obvious that the murderers want to cover their tracks and that is why they do not hand over Alexei’s body and even hide it from his mother,” he said on Telegram.

The late opponent’s spokeswoman, Kira Yarmish, said investigators had informed the lawyer that the results of a new examination into the body would not be available until next week. He also pointed out that Navalni’s mother, Lyudmila Navalnaya, was informed with an “official document” that he died on February 16 at 2:17 p.m. local time.

“Alexei Navalny has been murdered,” added the spokesman, who like many dissidents was sent into exile to avoid a prison sentence.

@Woodwool

#AlexeiNavalny, #Russia’s most famous opposition leader, died on Friday after collapsing and losing consciousness in the penal colony north of the Arctic Circle where he was serving a long prison sentence, Russian prison authorities said.

♬ Original sound – Excelsior Newspaper

His death at the age of 47 and after three years in prison deprived the exhausted Russian opposition of its main character. Convicted of “extremism,” Navalny served a 19-year prison sentence in a remote colony Arctic prison after trials that many believe were politically motivated.

Russian authorities provided few details about the circumstances of the death, limiting themselves to ensuring that every effort was made to revive the opponent, whose health was weakened by imprisonment, poisoning in 2020 and a hunger strike in 2021.

“Prisoner Navalny AA felt unwell after a walk and almost immediately lost consciousness,” the Yamal Arctic Region Prison Service said in a statement.

Russian President Vladimir Putin He remained silent after learning of the death of his main opponent, which comes a month before the presidential election and is expected to consolidate presidential power after years of repression. After learning of Navalni’s death, US President Joe Biden said he was “shocked” and declared that his Russian counterpart was “responsible for his death” – a message shared by other Western leaders who pointed the finger pointed at the Russian regime.

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The foreign ministers of the G7 members (Germany, Canada, the United States, France, Italy, Japan and the United Kingdom) observed a minute’s silence for Navalni at their meeting in Munich, Italian Chancellor Antonio Tajani’s office pointed out. The Kremlin considered the Western powers’ allegations on Friday to be “completely unacceptable.”

China, for its part, an increasingly important ally of the Kremlin, declined to comment on Navalny’s death. claiming it was an “internal Russian matter.” The Russian authorities remain silent about the circumstances of the opponent’s death, but warned the population not to organize demonstrations.

However, some Russians gathered in several cities on Saturday to lay flowers at monuments in memory of political dissidents. According to the independent media Sota, police in Moscow arrested at least 15 people in front of a monument to the victims of Soviet repression.

Shortly afterwards, journalists witnessed another arrest. However, in the early afternoon, curious people were able to approach the monument under strict police surveillance and leave flowers and messages.

“Don’t give up!”, “We will never forget, we will never surrender, Russia will be free,” read notes left among the flowers under the “mourning wall” near Sakharov Avenue, a traditional location , were scattered for opposition meetings and named after a famous Soviet dissident.

Thursday, Navalny took part via video in two hearings in a court in the Vladimir region and did not complain about his health, according to state news agency Ria Novosti. His mother said she had seen her son “healthy and in good spirits” on Monday, the independent Novaya Gazeta newspaper reported, citing a message posted on Facebook.

Prison has not undermined the resolve of Navalny, who has not stopped criticizing Putin during his court hearings and in messages distributed through his team. At his trial for “extremism,” he denounced “the stupidest and most senseless war of the 21st century,” referring to the Russian offensive against Ukraine launched on February 24, 2022.

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