Six In The Morning Saturday 17 February 2024

Navalny’s team says Russian authorities are hiding his body

Navalny’s allies have every reason not to trust the Kremlin

Sarah Rainsford

Eastern Europe Correspondent

Alexei Navalny’s family now have the confirmation they never wanted – the politician has died in prison.

But they still have no proper answers as to the cause of his sudden death, and they’re battling now to get his body released.The politician’s relatives and team will certainly not believe any explanations that emerge from the official investigation – not in a country that tried to haveNavalny killed with a nerve agent in 2020and that denies that, despite all the evidence.When Navalny’s death in custody was first announced by the prison service, his family and team said they would not believe or confirm the news until they could check it for themselves.As his wife, Yulia, put it: “We cannot trust the Putin government. They lie constantly.” That’s why the BBC couldn’t be 100% definitive, either. There was no independent source.

At least 340 people arrested across Russia, rights group says

At least 340 people have been detained at events across 30 Russian cities since the death of Alexei Navalny, according to the Russian human rights group OVD-Info.

The group said the largest numbers of arrests as of 14:00 GMT today occurred in St Petersburg and Moscow.

In Moscow, people queued to lay flowers at a monument for victims of Soviet repression, the Wall of Grief, as well as in the city’s Solovetsky Stone memorial commemorating prisoners and victims of political repression.

Three people explained why they had risked coming out to show their support for Navalny:

Quote Message: We only live once. Moreover, if we don’t come out now, then when? Now we may be detained and then released, but later we may not be released.”

Russia’s sheer mass proves too much for Ukraine in Avdiivka

The Russian advance into the ruins of the city of Avdiivka was only a matter of time

Ukrainian forces were vastly outnumbered and had suffered a daily onslaught since October, in a city that has been on the frontlines since Russian-backed separatists launched a rebellion against Kyiv in the spring of 2014.

The Russians have sustained huge losses in men and material since beginning their fall drive against the city, where some 1,000 civilians have clung on despite constant attempts by the Donetsk authorities to persuade them to leave. In December, US officials estimated that the Russian military had suffered more than 13,000 casualties along the Avdiivka-Novopavlivka axis in just a few weeks.

Senior Pakistan official admits election rigging as protests grip country

Confession by Punjab commissioner exacerbates tension over legitimacy of February general election results

A senior official in Pakistan has admitted to election rigging amid protests breaking out across the country over claims that its general election results were unfair.

The confessional statement throws further questions over the legitimacy of the 8 February elections, which were marred by controversies and allegations of rigging in Pakistan.

Commissioner Rawalpindi Liaqat Ali Chatta told reporters that authorities in Rawalpindi, Punjab province, changed the results of independent candidates – referring to candidates backed by the former prime minister Imran Khan’s party – who were leading with a margin of more than 70,000 votes.

Hungary rocked by protest over child sex abuse pardon case

The resignation of two top allies of Prime Minister Victor Orban over a decision to pardon a man convicted of covering up a child sexual abuse case has done little to quell public anger.

Tens of thousands of people in Hungary protested in the capital, Budapest on Friday amid a continuing fallout from a scandal that has rocked Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s government.

President Katalin Novak and former Justice Minister Judit Varga both resigned last weekend for supporting a decision to grant a pardon to a man implicated in a child sex abuse scandal in April 2023. The deputy director of a state-run orphanage who had been imprisoned for covering up a string of child sexual abuses was pardoned last year, but it only became known early this month.

Both ministers were close allies of Orban, whose party has governed the country with a constitutional majority for nearly 14 years.

Somalia president accuses Ethiopia of trying to annex part of its territory

President Mohamud ‘categorically objects’ to Ethiopia’s Red Sea port deal with Somaliland, territory Somalia claims as its own.

Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud has accused Ethiopia of trying to annex part of his country’s territory by signing a sea access deal with the breakaway region of Somaliland.

Speaking at the African Union summit in Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa on Saturday, Mohamud also said Ethiopian security forces tried to block his access to the summit amid a dispute between the two countries.

The agreement between Ethiopia and Somaliland signed on January 1 “is nothing more than annexing part of Somalia to Ethiopia, and changing the borders of Somalia,” Mohamud told reporters. “Somalia categorically objects to that.”

US Marine found guilty of assaulting elderly woman in west Japan city

A U.S. Marine stationed in this western Japan city was given a suspended sentence on Feb. 16 for punching an elderly woman and injuring her as well as assaulting another person last year.

The Yamaguchi District Court’s Iwakuni branch found Manuel Joshua Gomez, 21, guilty of assault and sentenced him to two years in prison, suspended for four years. The prosecution had sought a two-year prison term.

According to the ruling, at around 4 a.m. on Nov. 4, 2023, Gomez pushed an unacquainted woman in her 70s from behind to the ground on a street in the city and then punched her in the face multiple times, causing a compression fracture on her back and bruising her face. The injuries took around one month to heal.