Navalny’s mother goes to court over officials’ refusal to release son’s body

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Lyudmila Navalnaya, the mother of the late Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, filed a lawsuit demanding authorities release her son’s body as she continues her effort to urge Russian officials to let her bury her son with dignity.

The lawsuit was filed in the Arctic city of Salekhard and challenges the refusal to grant her access to her son’s remains, The Associated Press reported Wednesday, citing Russian state media agency TASS.

A closed-door hearing on the matter will be March 4, per the AP.

The lawsuit comes days after Russian officials announced Navalny died after losing consciousness on a walk at the country’s highest-security prison near the Arctic Circle. Since then, Navalnaya has worked to secure the release of her son’s body.

An aide for Navalny said Monday that his mother and lawyers were notified by investigators that they would not give them the body.

“The body will be under some sort of ‘chemical examination’ for another 14 days,” Navalny spokesperson Kira Yarmysh said.

On Tuesday, Navalnaya posted a video outside the Arctic penal colony where her son died Friday and appealed to Russian President Vladimir Putin to intervene and turn the body over to her.

“For the fifth day, I have been unable to see him. They wouldn’t release his body to me. And they’re not even telling me where he is,” Navalnaya said in the video. “I’m reaching out to you, Vladimir Putin.”

“The resolution of this matter depends solely on you. Let me finally see my son. I demand that Alexei’s body is released immediately, so that I can bury him like a human being,” she added.

Navalny’s wife, Yulia, has also pushed for the release of his body and vowed Monday to take up her late husband’s work to fight against corruption in Russia.

President Biden and other US allies have directly blamed Putin for Navalny’s death, which was confirmed by the family over the weekend.

“Make no mistake: Putin is responsible for Navalny’s death. Putin is responsible,” Biden said Friday. “What has happened to Navalny is yet more proof of Putin’s brutality. No one should be fooled.”

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