Alexeï Navalny: what we know three days after the death in prison of the Russian opponent

Charismatic anti-corruption activist and number one enemy of Vladimir Putin, Alexeï Navalny, 47, is dead, the Russian prison administration announced on Friday February 16

Alexeï Navalny: what we know three days after the death in prison of the Russian opponent

Charismatic anti-corruption activist and number one enemy of Vladimir Putin, Alexeï Navalny, 47, is dead, the Russian prison administration announced on Friday February 16.

“On February 16, 2024, in penitentiary center number 3, prisoner A. Navalny felt unwell after a walk and almost immediately lost consciousness. Medical personnel from the facility arrived immediately and an emergency rescue team was called. All necessary resuscitation measures were taken, without results. Emergency workers noted the death of the convict, the causes of death are being established,” the Federal Service for the Execution of Sentences (FSIN) of the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous District said in a statement. the Great Russian North. Vladimir Putin, the President of the Russian Federation, was informed of this, according to his spokesperson, Dmitry Peskov.

Russian doctors tried to resuscitate the opponent for more than thirty minutes, according to a public hospital in the town of Labytnangi, located near the penal colony where Mr. Navalny was imprisoned. “The doctors who arrived on site continued the resuscitation operations that had already been carried out by the prison doctors. They chased them for more than thirty minutes. However, the patient died,” the health establishment said.

The opponent's mother, Lyudmila Navalnaïa, visited the IK-3 penal colony in the Arctic region of Yamal on Saturday and was given an "official document" confirming the death, the spokesperson for the opposition said. opponent, Kira Yarmysh, in a message on -she adds.

Russian investigators told a lawyer for the opponent that the cause of his death has not been established. The deceased's team accused the authorities of "lying" to preserve his remains, requested by his relatives. “It’s obvious the killers want to cover their tracks. That’s why they don’t hand over Alexei’s body and even hide it from his mother,” she wrote on Telegram.

His relatives have been refused permission to see his body for three days, his team announced on Monday. “Alexei’s mother and her lawyers arrived at the morgue [in Salekhard, regional capital, about fifty kilometers from the prison where Mr. Navalny officially died, editor’s note] early this morning. They were not allowed to enter. One of the lawyers was literally pushed out. When staff were asked if Alexei’s body was there, they did not answer,” wrote Kira Yarmysh, spokesperson for Alexei Navalny, on social media. “The Investigative Committee told the mother and lawyers that the investigation into Navalny’s death had been prolonged. We don't know how much longer it will last. The cause of death is still “undetermined”. They lie, stall and don’t even hide it,” the spokesperson added.

The last images of the opponent date from Thursday, when he intervened by videoconference from his prison in Kharp, as part of the countless procedures against the prison administration. They were published by the online media outlet Sota. He is seen, apparently in good form, joking with the judge at the court in Kovrov, Vladimir Oblast, that his bank account is empty and that the judge's decisions are helping to empty it further. His mother, Lyudmila Navalnaya, said she saw her son on February 12 in his penal colony and that he was “in good health and in a cheerful mood.”

Alexei Navalny was serving a nineteen-year prison sentence for extremism. He was arrested in January 2021 upon his return to Russia after convalescing in Germany for a poisoning that he blamed on the Kremlin.

The 47-year-old activist disappeared in early December from the penal colony in Vladimir Oblast, 250 kilometers east of Moscow, where he had been held until then. His relatives had not heard from him for several days, before the administration revealed his transfer to a remote penal colony in the far north of Russia. He was serving his sentence in very difficult conditions.

The last news of him had been given by the members of his team in exile during the past week. Alexeï Navalny was released from prison on February 11, where he had been sent for the twenty-sixth time of his detention, and returned to solitary confinement three days later, on February 14, without the reasons for this new punishment being given .

During various hearings in trials in which he participated by videoconference in recent months, this tall blond with piercing blue eyes appeared thin and aged. He suffered health problems linked to a hunger strike and the poisoning he suffered in 2020, which he miraculously survived. His multiple trials had been widely denounced as political and a way of punishing him for his opposition to Vladimir Putin.

The international community immediately shared its astonishment after the news was broadcast. For American President Joe Biden, “Vladimir Putin is responsible for the death of Alexeï Navalny”. For the head of British diplomacy, David Cameron, the Russian president “must be held accountable”. “Putin’s Russia fabricated charges against him, poisoned him, sent him to a penal colony in the Arctic and now he has died tragically,” the ex-prime minister also said. Putin must be held accountable for what happened. »

An expression also used by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, for whom “it is obvious to me that [Mr. Navalny] was killed like thousands of others who were tortured to death because of one person, Putin, who doesn't care who dies as long as he maintains his position. The French President, Emmanuel Macron, expressed his “anger” and accused Russia of “condemning to death” “free spirits”, while the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Stéphane Séjourné, also stressed that Alexeï Navalny had “paid with his life for his resistance to a system of oppression.”

The 2021 Nobel Peace Prize winner, Russian Dmitri Muratov, editor-in-chief of the independent newspaper Novaya Gazeta (banned in Russia in 2022), described the death of the political opponent as “murder” and “scary news”. For Kremlin opponent and former world chess champion Garry Kasparov, Vladimir Putin “slowly and publicly murdered” Alexei Navalny after “failing to kill [him] quickly and secretly by having him poisoned.” “Navalny was killed for exposing Putin and his mafia as the crooks and thieves that they are,” he asserted.

Kremlin ally, China, did not wish to comment. “This is an internal Russian matter. I will not comment on it,” said a spokesperson for the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in response to a question from a journalist from Agence France-Presse.