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Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny is dead, prison service says

In Europe
February 16, 2024

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Jailed Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny has died, Russia’s prison service said on Friday.

The vocal critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin was serving a lengthy sentence at a penal colony north of the Arctic Circle where he was moved late last year.

The Federal Penitentiary Service of the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous District said that Navalny, 47, fell ill after a walk. Navalny’s legal team said they had received no confirmation of his death and that his lawyer was now traveling to the prison colony.

Navalny, a lawyer and anti-corruption activist, received a 19-year prison sentence last August, adding to the nine-year sentence he was already serving, after he was found guilty of extremism — offenses that are widely considered politically motivated.

People close to the activist have claimed that he was killed.

“Russian authorities [published] a confession that they killed Alexey Navalny in prison,” Navalny’s chief of staff, Leonid Volkov, wrote on X. “We do not have any way to confirm it or to prove this isn’t true.”

In August 2020, Navalny was poisoned with Novichok, a deadly nerve agent, while on a flight to Moscow. He was placed in a coma, but survived the incident.

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Navalny galvanized widespread protests against the Kremlin

Source:  The Guardian

Navalny rose to prominence more than a decade ago after mobilizing protests against the Kremlin and corruption in Russia. He led Russia of the Future, a party that campaigned against Putin’s government, investigating the Kremlin’s top brass and publishing videos with their findings. Between 2011 and 2013, he galvanized thousands to the streets, calling for a ”Russia without Putin.” One protester told The Guardian at the time that “there is a feeling of unity in our discontent,” adding that “the people coming to protests are beautiful, clever, educated. It’s very pleasant.”

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