June 11, 2024

Central News

at the center of it

Body of late Russian opposition critic Navalny moved to morgue under ‘dubious’ circumstances

The IK-3 penal colony, where Alexei Navalny was held. Pic: Reuters

ALEXEI Navalny’s body has been transferred to a morgue, according to a Russian news outlet, with guards reportedly “mysteriously” searching prison cells the night before his death.
Many have blamed Russian President Vladimir Putin for the opposition leader’s death, which was reported on Friday, and calls are growing for an independent investigation.
According to a Russian news outlet, Alexei Navalny’s body is now in a morgue, but no post-mortem examination has yet been performed.
The same media organisation also cites an inmate who describes a “mysterious commotion” on the night before his death was announced.
His body has been taken to the Salekhard District Clinical Hospital’s morgue, Novaya Gazeta Europe reports, but as of Saturday no post-mortem examination had been performed.
A paramedic for the Salekhard ambulance service tells the news outlet that the usual procedure did not appear to have been followed in the wake of the death.
“Usually, the bodies of people who die in prison are taken straight to the Bureau of Forensic Medicine … but in this case it was taken to the clinical hospital for some reason,” he says.
“They drove him to the morgue, brought him in, and then stationed two policemen in front of the door.
“They might as well have put up a sign saying ‘something mysterious is going on here’.”
While the death was first reported on Friday, one inmate told the publication there was a “mysterious commotion” on Thursday night.
“It all started when they really sped up our evening search, this usually happens on holidays when the guards are in a hurry to go and celebrate, but [that day] wasn’t a holiday,” the inmate says.
“Then they locked us up, forbade any movement between barracks, and tightened security.
“We heard cars drive on to the prison grounds late at night but couldn’t see through our cell windows what they were.”
He also says guards conducted an in-depth search of the prisoners’ cells on Friday morning, seizing phones and other items.
Novaya Gazeta Europe‘s source says he thought authorities appeared wrong-footed by this death, claiming the warden and the head of operations looked distraught.
The prisoner’s mother, Lyudmila Navalnaya, visited the prison – the IK-3 penal colony in Kharp, situated in the Arctic Circle – on Saturday, while his wife shared an image of the two together on Instagram.
She was reportedly told he died of “sudden death syndrome”, but she has not been able to see the body.
Meanwhile tributes are still being laid by the Solovetsky Stone, in Lubyanka Square in Moscow, which is a monument that commemorates victims of political oppression.
More than 400 people have been arrested at events in memory of Mr. Navalny, according to rights group OVD-Info.
Sky News’s Moscow correspondent Diana Magnay says visitors to the monument are being told by police to move on and not stay at the memorial for a long time.

Vigils have been held outside Russian embassies in various European capitals following reports of the death of Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny in a penal colony.
The anti-corruption campaigner was for long the most prominent face of Russian opposition to President Vladimir Putin.
The 47-year-old blogger had survived poisoning attempts and years in some of Russia’s most notorious jails, after his group had exposed corruption at almost every level of the Russian state – frequently targeting President Putin himself.
Even from behind bars, unable to challenge the president at the ballot box, his voice had retained power.