Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny’s lawyer ‘arrested in Moscow’

A lawyer who represented the late opposition politician Alexei Navalny was arrested on Tuesday in Moscow, Russian news media said.

The detention of Vasily Dubkov was due to “violating public order” as reported by newspaper Novaya Gazeta, one of Russia’s last independent news outlets.

Mr Navalny, 47, a fierce critic of Russian president Vladimir Putin, died unexpectedly while imprisoned at an Arctic penal colony on 16 February.

After his death Mr Dubkov accompanied Mr Navalny’s mother, Lyudmila Navalnaya, to the remote area of Russia to collect her son’s body after it was held by authorities for more than a week.

Russian authorities have not yet confirmed Mr Dubkov’s arrest.

The death of the firebrand politician prompted hundreds of Russians across the country to stream to impromptu memorials with flowers and candles.

Authorities have detained scores of people as they seek to suppress any major outpouring of sympathy for Mr Putin’s fiercest foe before the presidential election he is almost certain to win.

Mr Navalny’s widow, Yulia Navalnaya, has accused Mr Putin of killing her husband, and was critical of authorities keeping the body for such a length of time.

“No true Christian could ever do what Putin is now doing with the body of Alexei,” she said, asking: “What will you do with his corpse? How low will you sink to mock the man you murdered?”

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov rejected allegations that Mr Putin was involved in Mr Navalny‘s death, calling them “absolutely unfounded, insolent accusations about the head of the Russian state”.

It comes as Mr Navalny‘s spokeswoman said on Tuesday that his allies had been unable to find a venue in Russia where people could pay their respects to the opposition leader.

In a post on X, Kira Yarmysh said: “Since yesterday we have been looking for a site where we can say farewell to Alexei. We called round most private and public funeral agencies, commercial sites and funeral halls.”

“Some places say the space is busy, some places refuse upon mention of the name ‘Navalny‘. In one place we were directly told that funeral agencies were prohibited from working with us.”

This is a breaking news story, more follows…

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