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Navalny's lawyer briefly detained in Moscow

Reuters WORLD
Published February 27,2024

A lawyer for Russian opposition politician Alexei Navalny, who accompanied Navalny's mother last week as she fought to get authorities to hand over his body, was briefly detained on Tuesday in Moscow, Russian news media said.

The lawyer, Vasily Dubkov, later told independent news outlet Verstka that he had been released. Verstka said he did not comment on the reason for his detention but said it was an obstruction of his activity as a lawyer.

With Dubkov's help, Navalny's mother Lyudmila succeeded in obtaining the release of her son's body last Saturday, eight days after he died suddenly in an Arctic penal colony.

She had earlier accused investigators of trying to "blackmail" her by withholding the body unless she agreed to bury it without a public funeral, which she refused to accept.

President Vladimir Putin's spokesman has called that allegation absurd and said that the Kremlin has no involvement in the arrangements for Navalny.

Navalny's spokeswoman said earlier on Tuesday that his team had so far been unable to find any funeral hall or other venue where people could come to pay their respects to him. She said one venue had told them that "funeral agencies were prohibited from working with us".

Navalny, 47, had been serving a sentence of more than three decades on fraud and extremism charges he said were trumped up to silence him. The Kremlin has angrily rejected accusations by Navalny's family and supporters that Putin had him killed.

Three of Navalny's lawyers were arrested last October on suspicion of belonging to an "extremist group", and two others have been placed on a wanted list.