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Alexei Navalny's Mother Sues To Retrieve Son's Body In Russian Court

The mother of the late Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny has filed a lawsuit in Russian court seeking her son’s body for burial, the state news agency Tass reported Wednesday.

Since Navalny’s sudden death Friday at age 47, his mother, Lyudmila Navalnaya, has accused Russian officials of concealing his remains.

She filed her appeal in the city of Salekhard, around 30 miles from the Polar Wolf facility where Navalny spent his last months. The court scheduled a closed-door hearing March 4 to address her claim, The Associated Press reported, delaying the prospect of a swift funeral.

Polar Wolf is notoriously brutal. According to the BBC, prisoners are subjected to collective punishment that can involve standing outside in Arctic winter temperatures without coats, or being doused with water outside in the cold.

Navalnaya filmed a video near the facility earlier this week appealing directly to Russian President Vladimir Putin for her son’s release.

“I have not been able to see his body for five days. They have not handed it over to me, and have not even told me where it is,” she said.

“I appeal to you, Vladimir Putin, because the solution to this problem depends solely on you. Let me finally see my son. I demand that Alexei’s body be released immediately so that I can bury him in a humane way.”

Navalny’s family has been told they could not have his body for two weeks, pending “some sort of ‘chemical examination,’” a spokesperson for Navalny said on the platform formerly known as Twitter.

His wife, Yulia Navalnaya, publicly accused Putin of murder, alleging that his operatives used the same poison previously used on him — the nerve agent Novichok. The reason officials would not release his body, she claimed, was because they were waiting for traces of the Novichok to dissipate.

Navalny was put in a coma following a poisoning incident in 2020; he blamed Putin for the incident after his recovery, suspecting that someone laced his tea with the nerve agent.

During an emotional speech in Brussels, Yulia Navalnaya told the European Union Foreign Affairs Council: “[T]hree days ago, Vladimir Putin killed my husband, Alexei Navalny. He killed my closest person, he killed the father of my children, he killed half of my heart and half of my soul.”

Putin has denied involvement in Navalny’s death.

While hundreds of brave Russians have come out to mourn Navalny in public, some 400 of them have been arrested for doing so, according to The Washington Post. Young male mourners have reportedly been handed draft notices amid Russia’s two-year-old war in Ukraine.

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