Feb 21, 2024 - World

Navalny's mother files lawsuit for release of son's body

Navalny at a 2018 rally

Alexei Navalny at an anti-Putin rally in May 2018 in Moscow. Photo: Kirill Kudryavtsev/AFP via Getty Images

The mother of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, who died in a Russian penal colony last week, has filed a lawsuit in Russian court demanding the release of her son's body.

Why it matters: Navalny's family has said they suspect high-level Russian authorities were involved in his death and are attempting to cover their tracks.

The lawsuit comes a day after Navalny's mother, Lyudmila Navalnaya, posted a video pleading for Russian President Vladimir Putin to release her son's body so she can bury him with dignity, Politico reported.

  • "I am addressing you, Vladimir Putin," she said. "The resolution of this issue depends solely on you. Let me finally see my son. I demand that you immediately release Alexei's body so that I can bury him in a humane manner."

Details: Navalnaya filed the lawsuit at a court in Salekhard, the town near the penal colony where Navalny died, Russian state news agency TASS reported.

  • The lawsuit was filed against Russia's Investigative Committee for failing to release Navalny's body, Politico reported.
  • A closed-door hearing is scheduled for March 4, per TASS.

Catch up fast: Navalny spokesperson Kira Yarmysh said Monday that authorities had told the family that Navalny's body would not be released for another two weeks, pending "some sort of 'chemical examination.'"

  • Navalny's widow, Yulia Navalnaya, accused the Kremlin on Monday of withholding his body so traces of the nerve agent Novichok — the same substance that was used in his poisoning in 2020 — could dissipate, NBC News reported.
  • Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov called the accusations "absolutely unfounded" and "insolent," per AP.
  • Moscow has rejected demands to release Navalny's body to facilitate an independent investigation into the circumstances of his sudden death.

Go deeper: How Navalny became Putin's biggest political foe

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