Alexei Navalny’s team demands handing over his body to family 

Russian opposition leader and president Vladimir Putin's critic Alexei Navalny dies
Russian opposition leader and president Vladimir Putin’s critic Alexei Navalny dies Photo Courtesy:Wikimedia Commons/ShareAlike 4.0 International

Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny’s team members on Saturday (February 17, 2024) demanded his body should be handed over to his family amid widespread criticisms by key world leaders against President Vladimir Putin over his death.

Navalny’s spokesperson, Kira Yarmysh, wrote on X: “Alexey Navalny was murdered. His death occurred on February 16 at 2:17 p.m. local time, according to the official message to Alexey’s mother.”

“An employee of the colony said that the body of Navalny is now in Salekhard. It was picked up by investigators from the IC. Now they are conducting ‘investigations’ with him,” she said.

“We demand that Alexey Navalny’s body be handed over to his family immediately,” she said.

47-year-old Alexey Navalny died in an Arctic prison on Friday.

He was serving a 19-year term.

Alexey Navalny felt unwell in prison after a walk and lost consciousness. He received all necessary resuscitation measures, but they did not yield positive results, the Federal Ptnitentiary Service stated as quoted by Russia’s Sputnik news agency.

Authorities are trying to figure out the cause of his death.

Commenting on the development, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov was quoted as saying by Sputnik it is up to medics to find out reasons behind Navalny’s death.

World leaders criticise Putin

US President Joe Biden said the incident is proof of ‘Putin’s brutality’.

“Aleksey Navalny’s courage will never be forgotten. This tragedy – further proof of Putin’s brutality – reminds us of the stakes of this moment,” Biden wrote on X.

“Failure to support Ukraine against his vicious onslaught will never be forgotten,” he said.

Canadian PM Justin Trudeau said: “Alexei Navalny fought for democracy, for freedom, and for the Russian people. For that, he lost his life. We must stand united against Putin’s actions. And we must continue to defend democracy – together.”

British Foreign Secretary David Cameron posted on X: “Navalny fought bravely against corruption. Putin’s Russia fabricated charges against him, poisoned him, sent him to an arctic penal colony & now he has tragically died. Putin should be accountable for what has happened – no one should doubt the dreadful nature of his regime.”

The UN human rights office (OHCHR) said it was “appalled” over the death announced by Russian authorities of opposition leader Alexei Navalny in prison, calling for an impartial and transparent independent investigation.  

“If someone dies in the custody of the State, the presumption is that the State is responsible – a responsibility that can only be rebutted through an impartial, thorough and transparent investigation carried out by an independent body,” said OHCHR spokesperson Liz Throssell, calling on Russia “to ensure such a credible investigation is carried out”.