“Putin Is The Leader Of Organized Criminal Gang”, Says Navalny’s Wife

'Putin Is The Leader Of Organized Criminal Gang', Says Navalny's Wife

Russian authorities have cracked down on public gatherings in memory of Navalny. (File)

Strasbourg, France:

Yulia Navalnaya, the widow of late Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, said Wednesday she feared disruption and arrests at her husband’s funeral, set to take place on Friday in Moscow.

Addressing the European Parliament, Navalnaya assailed Russian leader Vladimir Putin as a “mobster” responsible for her husband’s death, in a forceful speech that drew a long-standing ovation.

“I’m not sure yet whether it will be peaceful or whether the police will arrest those who have come to say goodbye to my husband,” Navalnaya told lawmakers, shortly after the announcement that the funeral had been set for Friday in a Moscow church.

“Putin is the leader of an organised criminal gang,” said Navalnaya. “You are not dealing with a politician but with a bloody mobster.”

Russian authorities have said Navalny died of natural causes after he lost consciousness following a walk in his Arctic prison colony.

His family reject the claim.

“Alexei was tortured for three years,” Navalnaya told lawmakers. “He was starved in a tiny stone cell, cut off from the outside world and denied visits, phone calls, and then even letters.”

“And then they killed him. Even after that, they abused his body,” she said.

Navalny’s body was held for eight days, which his team believed to be a bid to cover up who was responsible for his death and prevent a public burial.

“Putin must answer for everything he has done to Alexei,” Navalnaya said.

Russian authorities have cracked down on public gatherings in memory of Navalny, detaining hundreds for laying flowers at memorials.

The opposition leader shot to prominence through his anti-corruption campaigning, exposing what he said was rampant corruption at the top of Putin’s administration.

He was arrested in January 2021 when he returned to Russia after being treated in Germany for a poisoning attack he suffered while campaigning against Putin in Siberia months earlier.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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