Navalny's mother says the authorities are demanding a secret funeral for the late activist

The mother of late Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny said Thursday that Russian investigators had finally allowed her to see her son's body, but were now pressuring her to hold a secret funeral for him.

“They look into my eyes [investigators] They told me that they would do something with my son’s body if I did not agree to a secret funeral.” Lyudmila Navalnaya He said In a video he posted on the activist's YouTube channel.

“I will not agree to that. I want all of you who cherish Alexei, for whom his death was a personal tragedy, to have the opportunity to say goodbye.”

Navalny died on Friday in an Arctic prison where he was being held on charges widely seen as retaliation for his opposition to President Vladimir Putin.

investigators earlier this week Tell The late activist's family and lawyers said that they intend to conduct a “chemical examination” of him for two weeks to determine the cause of his death.

“By law, they should have handed over Alexei’s body to me immediately, but instead they are blackmailing me and setting conditions on where and how Alexei will be buried,” Navalnaya said in the video.

She continued: “The investigators told me clearly: ‘Time is not on your side, the body is decomposing.’”

Navalny's spokeswoman Kira Yarmysh He said On Thursday, the medical report – which Lyudmila Navalnaya said she signed on Wednesday evening – indicated that the 47-year-old activist died of “natural causes.”

A source close to the Kremlin told the Moscow Times this week that officials They discuss “how to ensure that Navalny's mourning and funeral does not turn into a political demonstration and spoil the election for Putin.”

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“Various options have been proposed, up to the very cynical option of not handing over the body to his relatives until after the elections,” the source said.

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