Yulia Navalnaya: Russian court orders her arrest in absentia

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Yulia Navalnaya, widow of late Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, waits to vote at the Russian embassy in the Russian elections on March 17, 2024, in Berlin, Germany.



CNN

A Moscow court has ordered the arrest in absentia of Yulia Navalnaya, the wife of late Russian opposition politician Alexei Navalny, her spokesman said Tuesday.

Moscow’s Basmanny District Court charged Navalnaya with “participation in an extremist organization,” her spokeswoman Kira Yarmysh said in a social media post. She was also added to the international wanted list, according to Russia’s state news agency RIA Novosti.

The court also approved a request by the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation to detain Navalnaya. According to a press release, the period of detention will be counted from the moment of her possible extradition to Russian territory or from the moment of her detention on Russian territory. Navalnaya does not live in Russia.

Alexei Navalny died on February 16 in a penal colony in Siberia where he was serving a 19-year sentence after being convicted in August of creating an extremist community, financing extremist activists and various other crimes.

He was already serving 11-1/2 years in a maximum security facility for fraud and other charges he always denied and claimed were politically motivated.

Navalny was Russia’s most prominent opposition leader and had spent years criticizing Putin, who has been in power for nearly a quarter century, at great personal risk. His death came weeks before the country’s presidential election. Presidential elections Nationwide elections are scheduled to begin on March 15, which are widely seen by the international community as little more than a formality that will secure Putin a fifth term in power.

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Navalny’s death was met with grief and outrage around the world as well as within Russia, where even the smallest acts of political dissent carry huge risks.

Navalny returned to Russia in 2021 from Germany, where he was treated after being poisoned with Novichok, a Soviet-era nerve agent. Upon his arrival, he was quickly arrested — on charges he dismissed as politically motivated — and spent the rest of his life in prison.

His wife, Yulia Navalnaya, accused Russian President Vladimir Putin in February of Responsible for his death She said she would take responsibility for her husband for the sake of “a happy, beautiful Russia.”

Navalny/Instagram

Yulia Navalnaya (right), at least in public, often laughed at the hardships her husband (left) had brought on the family through his battle with the Russian state.

Navalnaya posted an eight-minute video of her death. the husband Sylvia posted a tweet on social media saying: “Putin killed the father of my children. He took away from me the most precious thing I have, the person closest to me and the person I love the most.”

She said Russian authorities had “hidden” Navalny’s body in an attempt to hide the cause of his death – a “pathetic lie” and waiting for “the traces of another Novichok substance used by Putin to disappear.”

The Kremlin has rejected any accusations of involvement in Navalny’s death.

In response to the court’s decision on Tuesday, Navalnaya renewed allegations of Putin’s involvement in her husband’s death.

“His place is in prison, not somewhere in The Hague, in a comfortable cell with a TV, but in Russia – in the same colony and the same 2-by-3-meter cell where Alexei was killed,” she said in a post on social media.

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“Oh, wouldn’t there be the usual procedure? A foreign agent, then a criminal case, then an arrest ?! When you write about this, please don’t forget to write the main thing: Vladimir Putin is a murderer and a war criminal.”

CNN’s Nathan Hodge, Sahir Akbarzai and Jack Jay contributed to this story.

This is a developing story and will be updated.

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