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Alexei Navalny’s mother ‘given three-hour ultimatum’ over son’s funeral | World News

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Alexei Navalny’s mother has said she was given an ultimatum to agree to a secret funeral within three hours or else her son would be buried at prison.

A spokeswoman for Lyudmila Navalnaya said she refused to negotiate with investigators because “they do not have the authority to decide how and where she should bury her son”.

Ms Navalnaya wants “compliance with the law” and authorities are “obliged to hand over the body within two days of establishing the cause of death”, said Kira Yarmysh.

“According to the medical documents she signed, these two days expire tomorrow,” added the spokeswoman.

“She insists that the authorities allow the funeral and memorial service to take place in accordance with normal practice.”

The update was posted on X on Friday afternoon and it’s unclear if authorities have acted on the ultimatum.

The campaigner and politician died a week ago but authorities have denied foul play and say he fell ill after going for a walk at his prison in Arctic Russia.

His death certificate cited “natural causes”, according to Mr Navalny’s team.

However, his wife believes he was poisoned with novichok – the same nerve agent used in an alleged assassination attempt by Russia against him in 2020.

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Russia ‘pathetically lying’ – Navalny’s widow

Mr Navalny‘s death has sparked severe condemnation of Russia by the West, and on Friday the US revealed more than 500 new sanctions.

The stalling over funeral arrangements is believed to be an effort to avoid a large public event that could feature protests and embarrass the Kremlin.

Lyudmila Navalnaya said in a YouTube video on Thursday that she had finally been allowed to see her son’s body but accused authorities of “blackmailing” her.

She said they had told her “time is not working for you” and suggested the body was “decomposing”.

“Looking into my eyes, they say that if I do not agree to a secret funeral, they will do something with my son’s body,” said Ms Navalnaya.

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Navalny’s mother being ‘blackmailed’ over body

Mr Navalny, 47, was Vladimir Putin‘s most vocal critic and the only opposition figure able to rally large crowds to take to the streets to protest.

He was serving a 19-year-sentence on charges his supporters say were designed to try and silence him.

Mr Navalny’s team are now offering €50,000 (£42,700) for “valuable and complete information about the murder of Alexei Navalny”.

Navalny in court 15/02/24
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Mr Navalny in court a day before he died

They have also offered to arrange travel if required – suggesting they will pay for those in Russia to escape.

They previously put up a smaller reward but said it had increased “because several people wrote to us and offered to add their money”.

International condemnation over Mr Navalny’s death continued on Friday at a meeting of the UN Security Council.

UK Foreign Secretary Lord Cameron said the campaigner had displayed “incredible courage” but “suffered terrible consequences for standing firm for Russian democracy”.

Two years on from the start of the Ukraine war, Mr Cameron also spoke in length about the conflict.

He said Vladimir Putin’s desire to “redraw borders” and “build his empire” must not be allowed to stand.

“Nothing should matter more to us than seeing Putin fail,” he told members. “We must not falter. We must stand firm.”

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