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Alexei Navalny’s body returned to his mother, spokeswoman says

Floral tributes outside the Russian Embassy in London for jailed Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny following his death (Jordan Pettitt/PA) (PA Wire)
Floral tributes outside the Russian Embassy in London for jailed Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny following his death (Jordan Pettitt/PA) (PA Wire)

The body of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny has been handed over to his mother, a spokeswoman said on Saturday.

It comes after Lyudmila Navalnaya had reportedly been told to agree to a “secret” burial or he would be buried at the prison colony where he died suddenly and unexpectedly.

Kira Yarmysh thanked everybody who had demanded the return of his body.

“The funeral is yet to take place,” she wrote on X, formerly Twitter.

“We don’t know whether the authorities will interfere with it being carried out in the way the family wants and as Alexei deserves.”

Earlier on Saturday, Navalny’s widow Yulia accused Vladimir Putin of holding her late husband’s body hostage and demanded its release without conditions.

Navalny died on February 16 in a Russian prison inside the Arctic Circle.

Earlier this week Lord David Cameron slapped sanctions on the heads of the penal colony where Navalny was “detained and killed”.

They will be banned from the UK and see their assets frozen under new measures.

Lyudmila Navalnaya (via REUTERS)
Lyudmila Navalnaya (via REUTERS)

Vadim Konstantinovich Kalinin, who allegedly oversaw the brutal prison camp where Mr Navalny was kept in solitary confinement for up to two weeks at a time, is among those targeted, according to a statement from the department on Wednesday.

Five others have also been sanctioned for “activity that violates the right not to be subjected to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment and the right to life”, the Government said.

His death of Mr Navalny deprived the Russian opposition of an influential figure less than a month before an election that is all but certain to give Putin another six years in power.

The Kremlin has dismissed suggestions it is to blame.

Mr Navalny was one of the most prominent and persistent critics of the Kremlin, remaining a thorn in Mr Putin’s side even while behind bars via scathing attacks that his associates continued to post on social media.

He had been transferred in December to the town of Kharp, in the remote Yamalo-Nenets region notorious for its long and severe winters, in a move decried by his supporters as yet another attempt to silence him.