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Navalny's body reportedly found with 'signs of bruising' as Russia claims he died of 'sudden death syndrome'

Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny died of "sudden death syndrome," prison officials told his mother on Saturday, while continuing to keep his body.

Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny's body was reportedly found with "signs of bruising" this weekend, while government officials told his mother on Saturday that Navalny died of "sudden death syndrome."

Officials at the prison where Navalny died told his mother that his body could not be handed over until an investigation had been completed. They said his body was sent to a nearby morgue. 

An anonymous paramedic claiming to work for the morgue told independent news outlet Novaya Gazeta Europe that the bruising was consistent with a person being held down while suffering a seizure.

"Usually the bodies of people who die in prison are taken straight to the Bureau of Forensic Medicine on Glazkova Street, but in this case it was taken to the clinical hospital for some reason," the anonymous paramedic told the outlet.

NAVALNY SEEN GRINNING, LAUGHING IN COURTROOM VIDEO A DAY BEFORE HIS DEATH 

Meanwhile, world leaders and Navalny's own spokeswoman have declared that he was, in fact, murdered by Russian President Vladimir Putin's regime.

Prison officials said Navalny, 47, fell unconscious and died shortly afterward on Friday. He had been serving a roughly 30-year sentence in a penal colony.

"When Alexei's lawyer and mother arrived at the colony this morning, they were told that the cause of Navalny's death was sudden death syndrome," Ivan Zhdanov, who directs Navalny's Anti-Corruption Foundation, announced on social media.

Sudden death syndrome is a broad medical term that is not a formal condition or diagnosis. It rather refers to a wide range of scenarios that lead to sudden and unforeseen death.

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Navalny's body remains in government hands, and his family is demanding his remains be turned over to them, according to his spokeswoman, Kira Yarmysh.

"Alexei Navalny was murdered. His death occurred on February 16 at 2:17 p.m. local time, according to the official message to Alexei’s mother," said Yarmysh. "An employee of the colony said that the body of Navalny is now in Salekhard."

"It was picked up by investigators from the IC. Now they are conducting 'investigations' with him," the spokeswoman said. "We demand that Alexei Navalny's body be handed over to his family immediately."

BIDEN, AFTER NAVALNY'S DEATH, SAYS ‘NO DOUBT’ THAT ‘PUTIN AND HIS THUGS' WERE BEHIND IT

Navalny had previously organized anti-government demonstrations and ran for office to advocate for reforms against what he called corruption in Russia. He was the victim of an alleged assassination attempt in 2020 when he suffered poisoning from a suspected Novichok nerve agent.

President Biden told reporters at the White House Friday that "we don't know exactly what happened, but there is no doubt that the death of Navalny was a consequence of something that Putin and his thugs did."

Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Navalny's "death in a Russian prison and the fixation and fear of one man only underscores the weakness and rot at the heart of the system that Putin has built."

Reuters contributed to this report

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