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“You torture him after his death”

Yulia Navalnaya renews her accusations against Vladimir Putin. Russia's president took the body of her husband Alexei Navalny “hostage,” according to the wife of the late opposition figure.

The widow of Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny has accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of taking the body of her husband, who died in custody, as a “hostage.” Putin wanted to “force Navalny's mother Lyudmila to agree to a secret funeral,” Yulia Navalnaya said in an online video.

Putin gave the orders that said: “Don't hand him over, put pressure on the mother, break her, tell her that her son's body has decomposed.” Navalnaya added: “You tortured him while he was alive, now you are torturing him after his death.”

Three-hour ultimatum passed

Lyudmila Navalnaya has been trying to gain access to her son's body for more than a week. According to Navalny's spokeswoman Kira Jarmisch, Russian investigators threatened to bury Navalny's body on the grounds of the penal colony where he died if his family did not agree to a secret burial.

A long-time comrade-in-arms of Navalny, Ivan Zhdanov, recently reported on a three-hour ultimatum from the authorities: Lyudmila Navalnaya had been given a deadline of three hours to accept a private funeral behind closed doors. Navalnaya refused to continue the negotiations. She insisted that the authorities followed the law and returned the body within 48 hours of determining the cause of death, and also filed a complaint accusing the authorities of desecrating the body.

Kremlin probably fears public interest in funeral

According to observers, the Kremlin fears that a funeral could become a public event. Presidential elections are scheduled for mid-March in Russia. Putin's renewed election victory is already almost certain, as he has no serious competition.

The death of Navalny, who had been imprisoned in Russia for years, became known on Friday last week. He died in a penal camp in the Arctic Circle at the age of 47. His death caused international consternation. Numerous Western politicians as well as Navalny's widow blamed the Russian leadership and President Putin for his death. Yulia Navalnaya accused Putin of murder. Moscow rejected the allegations.

Frank Aischmann, ARD Moscow, tagesschau, February 24, 2024 12:11 p.m

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