Russian court orders arrest of Alexei Navalny’s widow

Russian court orders arrest of Alexei Navalny’s widow

A Russian court has ordered the arrest of Yulia Navalnaya, a prominent activist and widow of Alexei Navalny, the former Russian opposition leader who died in prison in February.

A key figure in the opposition movement against Vladimir Putin and head of the advisory board of her late husband’s Anti-Corruption Foundation, Navalnaya left Russia in 2021 and has repeatedly accused the president of killing her husband.

In a tweet acknowledging the arrest order issued Tuesday, Navalnaya wrote: “When you write about this, remember to write the main thing: Vladimir Putin is a murderer and a war criminal.”

She also derided accusations of “extremism,” comparing them to the typical course of Russian legal proceedings: “Will this not be the usual procedure? A foreign agent, then the opening of a criminal case, then an arrest?!” She added that “Putin’s place is in prison, and 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 in which he killed Alexei.”

Alexei Navalny

The arrest order from the Investigative Committee of the Basmanny District Court, which accuses Navalnaya of “participating in an extremist community,” does not explicitly state the reasoning behind the charges against Navalnaya, but it notes the official categorization of the Anti-Corruption Foundation as an “extremist” entity and the arrests in April of three prominent journalists for allegedly working with the organization.

Navalnaya has been placed on an international wanted list and is likely to be arrested if she returns to Russia, according to a court statement.

Navalny died in February in a Russian penal colony while serving a 19-year sentence for trumped-up crimes that many believed were politically motivated. He was transferred to the Arctic penal colony in 2021. On the day of his death, the prison administration said Navalny “felt unwell” after a walk before “losing consciousness almost immediately. Emergency doctors pronounced the prisoner dead. The cause of death is being established.” His arrest and life’s work were the subject of the 2023 documentary “Navalny,” which won the Academy Award for best documentary feature.

After her husband’s death, Navalnaya vowed to continue her opposition work.

The New York Times was the first to report the news.

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