Demonstration after death of Navalny in Bremen, Germany (photo: Darafsh)

Cyprus president “appalled and deeply saddened” by Navalny death

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Cyprus President Nikos Christodoulides said he was “appalled and deeply saddened” by the death of anti-Putin activist Alexei Navalny in a Russian prison.

In a post on social media on Saturday, the president said, “history will remember Alexeï Navalny as a true and fierce defender of freedom, democracy, human rights, and as a symbol of courage and determination.”

“Our thoughts are with his family and loved ones,” the Cypriot leader and former Foreign Minister said.

In a similar post late on Friday when the jailed opposition figure’s death was announced, the Cyprus Foreign Ministry said it was, “deeply saddened by reports on Alexei Navalny’s death, a defender of human rights, freedom and democracy.

“Circumstances of his death have to be duly investigated. Sincere condolences and sympathy to Navalny’s wife and family.”

The Russian activist, who died on Friday, was in an Arctic Circle jail on politically-motivated charges.

Navalny, 47, allegedly collapsed in prison and died. However, his family has been denied the return of his body, saying it is purposely being withheld by the Russian authorities so they can “cover traces” of murder, allegedly on Vladimir Putin’s orders.

Protests and vigils have been held near Russian embassies in many countries. More than 340 people have been detained in Russian cities, reports say, amid warnings not to rally.

The biggest protests and arrests are reportedly in Saint Petersburg.