Former spokeswoman: Navalny's mother was given an ultimatum to bury her son in secret

2024-02-23 20:33:00, Kosova & Bota CNA

Former spokeswoman: Navalny's mother was given an ultimatum to bury her son

Former opposition politician Alexei Navalny's spokeswoman, Kira Yarmysh, said officials from Russia's Investigative Committee gave his mother an ultimatum to immediately agree to bury his body without a public ceremony, or they would bury him in the prison space in the Arctic where he died a week ago.

The ultimatum, Yarmysh said, was issued around 3 p.m. If Navalny's mother did not comply within three hours, officials said they would bury Navalny in the prison known as the Arctic Wolf.

Lyudmila Navalnaya, Yarmysh said, refused to negotiate with the Investigative Committee, saying that this institution is not authorized to decide where and how her son will be buried.

News of the ultimatum could not be immediately verified and there is no comment from the prison authorities or the Investigative Committee on the matter.

Yarmysh said Navalnaya has insisted that under the law, her son's body appears to be handed over to her within two days, after his cause of death has been officially determined. This deadline expires on February 24.

"Navalnaya insists that the authorities should allow him to organize the funeral and farewell ceremony in accordance with traditions," Yarmysh wrote on social networks. A day earlier, Navalny's mother said that on February 21, investigators allowed her to see her late son's body in the Arctic town of Salehard, but authorities refused to hand over the body for burial.

Navalnaya said she has signed the death certificate, stressing that authorities are breaking the law by not handing over her son's body. She also said she wants Navalny's funeral to be public so his supporters can attend.

Navalnaya has been trying to gain access to her son's body since he died in prison on February 16. Prison officials said the Kremlin critic died after collapsing after walking outside the cell where he was being held.

Human rights groups and associates of Navalny have accused authorities of withholding his body in order to cover up the cause of death.

Navalny, 47, one of the most vocal critics of Russian President Vladimir Putin, was serving a lengthy sentence on extremism charges that many have described as politically motivated.

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