Makes an attempt to rent a hearse to take the physique of Alexey Navalny physique to his funeral have been thwarted by unknown individuals, the Russian opposition leader’s crew stated Thursday.

Spokeswoman Kira Yarmysh claimed that drivers had been “referred to as by unknown individuals and threatened to not take Alexey’s physique anyplace.”

Yarmysh stated she had been instructed that “no hearse agrees to take the physique there.”

Navalny’s crew additionally encountered issue hiring a venue for his funeral, which shall be held at 2 p.m. native time (6 a.m. ET) Friday on the Church of the Icon of the Mom of God in Moscow’s Maryino district, the place the opposition chief lived. He’ll then be buried at Borisov Cemetery.

The Church of the Icon of the Mother of God in Moscow, where Navalny's funeral will be held. - Olga Maltseva/AFP/Getty Images

The Church of the Icon of the Mom of God in Moscow, the place Navalny’s funeral shall be held. – Olga Maltseva/AFP/Getty Photos

Many venues claimed that they have been busy, or refused the reserving as soon as Navalny’s named was talked about, whereas one venue explicitly stated they have been forbidden from working with Navalny’s crew, Yarmysh stated Tuesday.

The crew had initially deliberate a public farewell and funeral for the late Russian opposition chief for Thursday, however have been instructed there have been “no obtainable cemetery staff who can dig a grave,” stated Ivan Zhdanov, the director of Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Basis, on Wednesday.

Navalnaya blames Putin for husband’s loss of life

Navalny died on February 16 within the penal colony in Siberia the place he was serving a 19-year sentence after being discovered responsible of making an extremist group, financing extremist activists and numerous different crimes in August. He was already serving sentences of 11-and-a-half years in a most safety facility on fraud and different adjustments he denies.

The Russian jail service stated Navalny “felt unwell after a stroll” in his Siberian penal colony and “virtually instantly” misplaced consciousness.

Navalny was Russia’s highest-profile opposition chief and spent years criticizing Putin, who has been in energy for almost 1 / 4 of a century, at nice private threat. His loss of life got here weeks earlier than the nation’s presidential elections scheduled to start nationwide on March 15, which is extensively seen by the worldwide group as little greater than a formality that can safe Putin a fifth time period in energy.

Navalny’s loss of life was met with grief and anger internationally in addition to inside Russia, the place the smallest acts of political dissent carry large dangers.

He returned to Russia in 2021 from Germany, the place he had been handled after being poisoned with Novichok, a Soviet-era nerve agent. On arrival Navalny was swiftly arrested – on costs he dismissed as politically motivated – and spent the remainder of his life in jail.

His spouse, Yulia Navalnaya, has blamed Russian President Vladimir Putin for her husband’s loss of life.

“Putin killed my husband,” she stated throughout a speech on the European Parliament on Wednesday. “On his orders, Alexey was tortured for 3 years,” she added, a reference to the time Navalny spent in jail.

“He was starved in a tiny stone cell, minimize off from the surface world and denied visits, telephone calls. After which even letters. After which they killed him. Even after that, they abused his physique,” she stated, as Navalny’s crew alleges the physique was held as a way to stress the household into agreeing to carry a personal funeral.

The Kremlin has rejected any allegations of involvement in Navalny’s loss of life.

Navalnaya additionally stated she was involved that police will crack down on mourners on the funeral on Friday.

Greater than 400 individuals have been detained at makeshift memorials for Navalny throughout 32 Russian cities, in line with human rights monitoring group OVD-Data.

CNN’s Anna Chernova contributed to this report.

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