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Navalny’s mother says officials pressuring her into ‘secret’ burial

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NEW DELHI: The late Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny’s mother said on Thursday that she was shown his body by investigators, after days of being barred from the morgue.

“Yesterday evening they secretly took me to the morgue where they showed me Alexei,” she said in a video released on social media from Salekhard, the nearest town to the Arctic prison where he died last week.

She accused the Russian authorities of pressuring her into a “secret” burial for her son.

“They are blackmailing me, they put conditions for where, when and how Alexei should be buried. This is illegal,” Lyudmila Navalnaya said in a video published by his team. “They want it to be done in secret.”

Russian authorities also declared his death to be because of natural causes.

Earlier, Navalny’s mother had filed a lawsuit in the Arctic city of Salekhard, challenging officials’ refusal to release her son’s body.

She also appealed to Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday requesting the release of her son’s body who died at the Arctic prison colony on Friday where he was serving a 19-year-term.

“I’m reaching out to you, Vladimir Putin. The resolution of this matter depends solely on you. Let me finally see my son. I demand that Alexei’s body is released immediately, so that I can bury him like a human being,” she said in a video.

Over 400 people have been held across Russia since Navalny’s death while attempting to pay tribute to him with flowers and candles, according to OVD-Info, a group that tracks political arrests.

( with input from agency)

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