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Russian Investigators to Hold Navalny's Body for 2-Week 'Chemical Exam'

Navalny's mother leaves a Russian law enforcement office in the town of Salekhard. Anatoly Maltsev / EPA / TASS

Russian investigators told the family and lawyers of Alexei Navalny that they will not hand over his body for at least another two weeks as they conduct a "chemical examination" to determine the cause of his death, the late activist's spokeswoman Kira Yarmysh said on Monday.

"We understand clearly that they won’t show his body afterward and will keep extending this 'examination' until it suits them, at least until the [March presidential] election," Yarmysh said during a live video stream on the Navalny team’s YouTube channel.

Navalny’s mother Lyudmila on Monday was denied access to his body for a third day in a row, enraging supporters who accuse the Kremlin of killing him and trying to “cover their tracks.”

Over the weekend, Lyudmila Navalnaya and lawyers were told that Navalny had died of “sudden death syndrome” — a vague term with no specific medical meaning. State-run media previously reported, without citing sources, that he had died from a blood clot.

The 47-year-old Kremlin critic died on Friday at an Arctic penal colony where he was being held on "extremism" charges widely seen as retribution for his criticism of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said earlier Monday that an investigation into Navalny’s death was ongoing and lashed out at critics who blame Putin for his death.

Putin himself has not commented on the death of his most vocal critic.

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