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Mother of Alexei Navalny decries treatment as Biden meets with his widow

President Joe Biden hugs Yulia Navalnaya, Alexei Navalny's widow, as he meets with her and her daughter, Dasha (L), in San Francisco, on Thursday. Photo courtesy of White House/UPI
1 of 3 | President Joe Biden hugs Yulia Navalnaya, Alexei Navalny's widow, as he meets with her and her daughter, Dasha (L), in San Francisco, on Thursday. Photo courtesy of White House/UPI | License Photo

Feb. 22 (UPI) -- The mother of Russian opposition politician Alexei Navalny, who died in a Russian penal colony Friday, said Thursday she was allowed to see his body but that authorities are pressuring her to keep his burial low profile.

Navalny, 47, survived an assassination attempt in 2020 and was arrested upon returning to Russia in 2021. He died under questionable circumstances last week, despite appearing seemingly OK while appearing in court shortly before his death was announced.

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"Last night they secretly took me to the morgue where they showed me Alexei's body," Lyudmila Navalnaya said in a video uploaded to Navalny's YouTube channel.

"The investigators claim that they know the cause of death, they have all the medical and legal documents. I saw them already signed the medical certificate of death," she continued.

Navalnaya said Russian authorities had delayed her access to her son's body.

"According to the law, they should have given me Alexei's body immediately," Navalnaya said. "But they haven't done it until now."

Navalnaya also said authorities were pressuring her to try and keep her son's burial low profile.

"They are blackmailing me, and telling me where, when and how Alexei should be buried," Navalnaya said. "They want it to be done secretly, without a farewell. They want to bring me to the outskirts of a the cemetery, to a fresh grave and say, 'Here lies your son.'"

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Navalny's widow, Yulia Navalnaya, said Monday that authorities were denying her access to her late husband's body.

On Thursday, U.S. President Joe Biden met with Yulia Navalnaya and Navalny's daughter, Dasha at the White House.

"Today, I met with Yulia and Dasha Navalnaya -- [Alexei] Navalny's loved ones -- to express my condolences for their devastating loss," Biden posted to X Thursday. "[Alexei's] legacy of courage will live on in Yulia and Dasha and the countless people across Russia fighting for democracy and human rights."

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