Russian opposition leader Navalny has died, prison service says

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Alexei Navalny pictured speaking to journalists in Moscow on December 21, 2011.Image source, Reuters

Russia’s most significant opposition leader for the past decade, Alexei Navalny, has died in prison inside the Arctic Circle, the prison service said.

Seen as President Vladimir Putin’s most vociferous critic, Navalny was serving a 19-year jail term for offences widely considered politically motivated.

He was moved to an Arctic penal colony, considered one of the toughest jails, late last year.

The prison service in the Yamalo-Nenets district said he had “felt unwell” after a walk on Friday.

He had “almost immediately lost consciousness”, it said in a statement, adding that an emergency medical team had immediately been called and tried to resuscitate him but without success.

“The emergency doctors declared the prisoner dead. Cause of death is being established.”

Navalny’s lawyer Leonid Solovyov told Russian media he would not be commenting yet.

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