Russian Opposition Leader Alexei Navalny Has Passed Away

( – From the moment Alexei Navalny went into a Russian prison, there were concerns he would never make it out. Those worries proved to be warranted when his spokesperson recently announced he was “murdered.” His family is now searching for answers.

On February 16, Russian authorities claimed Navalny died after taking a walk at the IK-3 penal colony where he was serving his 28-year sentence. The 47-year-old former attorney was known as President Vladimir Putin’s fiercest critic. His supporters always maintained he was an innocent man locked up by a government ruled by an authoritarian leader. His prison sentences for convictions for extremism and fraud came after he survived a poisoning, allegedly at the order of the Kremlin.

Kira Yarmysh, a spokeswoman for Navalny, said he was “murdered” and demanded Putin’s government give his body back to his family.

The Associated Press reported Navalny’s mother, Lyudmila Navalnaya, 69, and members of his legal team traveled to Kharp, Russia, where the prison is located. They asked for the politician’s body, but prison officials told the grieving mother that they didn’t have his remains. They claimed that officials transported it to Salekhard, a town about an hour away, to examine it as part of an investigation into his death.

Navalnaya and the layers traveled to that town but discovered the morgue was closed. They called the morgue, but someone said his body was not there. The late opposition leader’s mom then went to the office of the Salekhard Investigative Committee. Officials told her that the family would not receive his remains until its examination was complete. His body was later revealed to be at a morgue in the Salekhard District Clinical Hospital, allegedly marked with bruises on his head and chest.

Navalny understood very clearly that his sentence was for life, saying his “life sentence” would be “measured by the length of [his] life or the length of life of [Putin’s] regime.”

In an interview, Navalny’s wife, Evgenia Kara-Murza, accused Putin of murdering her husband. She went on to say the “impunity that has lasted for decades has led” to the Russian leader thinking “he’s somehow untouchable.”

Putin has not commented on the death of his nemesis.

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