Navalny’s Funeral to Be Held on Friday in Moscow

This photo taken from video shows a view of the prison colony in the town of Kharp, in the Yamalo-Nenetsk region about 1,900 kilometers (1,200 miles) northeast of Moscow, Russia, on Feb. 20. (AP Photo)

MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny’s funeral service and burial will take place in Moscow on Friday, his spokesperson said, after a search for a hall to allow his supporters to bid farewell to him failed.

Kira Yarmysh, his spokesperson, posted on social media that a service for Navalny would be held on Friday afternoon in the Moscow district of Maryino. She told people to get there early.

Navalny would then be buried at the Borisovskoye cemetery, she said.

Navalny, 47, died at an Arctic penal colony on Feb. 16. His allies have accused President Vladimir Putin of having him murdered because the Russian leader could allegedly not tolerate the thought of Navalny being freed in a potential prisoner swap.

The Kremlin, which casts Navalny and his supporters as U.S.-backed extremists, has denied state involvement in his death and said it is unaware of any agreement to free Navalny prior to his death.

Navalny’s death certificate, according to supporters, said he died of natural causes.

His mother accused the authorities of trying to blackmail her into holding a private funeral for her son by initially withholding his body, an assertion the Kremlin called absurd.

Navalny’s allies had been looking for a hall to accommodate his supporters at a farewell ceremony, but said on Tuesday they had been refused everywhere.

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