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Russian authorities release Alexei Navalny's body to his mother, ending week-long standoff

The body of Russian opposition politician Alexei Navalny, who was murdered in the IK-3 penal colony in mid-February, has been handed over to his mother Lyudmila after a week-long standoff with the Russian authorities.

Navalny's press secretary Kira Yarmysh tweeted today:

“Alexey's body was handed over to his mother. Many thanks to all those who demanded this with us.
Lyudmila Ivanovna is still in Salekhard. The funeral is still pending. We do not know if the authorities will interfere to carry it out as the family wants and as Alexey deserves. We will inform you as soon as there is news.”

Russian state investigators had issued several threats to Lyudmila Navalnaya over the past week.

Yesterday, Russian Investigative Committee officers issued Lyudmila an ultimatum — they gave her three hours to decide on a secret funeral without a public memorial service, according to Kira Yarmysh.

If she had not agreed to their terms, the investigators threatened to bury Navalny's body at the IK-3 penal colony.

Lyudmila Navalnaya was also issued a similar threat the day before. In a video appeal, she said officers from Russia's Investigative Committee threatened to bury Alexei in secret and then take her to his grave.

“[The] investigator Varapayev openly told me: ‘Time’s not on your side, the bodies are decomposing’” Navalnaya quoted one of the officers as saying.

The Insider identified the officer that made the threat as Alexander Vladimirovich Varapayev — a convicted criminal.

A medical death certificate shown to Alexei Navalny's mother listed the opposition politician's cause of death as “natural,” as per a tweet from Kira Yarmysh.

The Insider examined the versions and narratives of Navalny's death being spread by the Kremlin in a separate piece dated February 21.

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