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EU leads call for probe into death of Alexei Navalny

A group of more than 40 countries have reiterated calls for Russia to allow an independent international investigation into the death of opposition leader Alexei Navalny in prison.

The call was made by European Union ambassador Lotte Knudsenat at the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva on behalf of all 27 EU states and 16 other countries, including Canada, the United Kingdom, the United States and Ukraine.

“We are outraged by the death of the Russian opposition politician Alexei Navalny, for which the ultimate responsibility lies with President (Vladimir) Putin and the Russian authorities,” Mr Knudsen said.

“Russia must allow an independent and transparent international investigation into the circumstances of his sudden death.”

Mr Navalny, President Vladimir Putin’s fiercest critic inside Russia, died at the age of 47 in an Arctic penal colony on 16 February, sparking accusations from his supporters that he had been murdered.

Over the weekend, hundreds of Russians visited his grave, risking arrest to pay tribute to him.

The Kremlin has denied any state involvement in the death of the opposition leader, who was laid to rest in Moscow on Friday.

Russia’s Investigative Committee says it has launched a procedural investigation into the death, and the Kremlin has said it does not bow to EU demands.

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