Alexei Navalny's widow says her husband's body had been 'abused' in tearful address to European Parliament

Alexei Navalny's widow told European lawmakers her husband’s body had been “abused” in a tearful address.

Yulia Navalnaya spoke to the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France, on Wednesday - 12 days after her husband died suddenly in a Russian penal colony at the age of 47.

She said: “On Putin’s orders, Alexei was tortured for three years. He was starved in a tiny, stone cell - cut off from the outside world and denied visits, phone calls and then even letters.

“And then they killed him. Even after that, they abused his body and abused his mother.”

The Kremlin, which casts Mr Navalny and his supporters as US-backed extremists, has denied state involvement in his death

Ms Navalnaya also urged European politicians and officials to investigate financial flows in the West linked to Mr Putin and his allies.

She said: "Putin is the leader of an organised criminal gang. This includes poisoners and assassins but they're just puppets.

Yulia Navalnaya was tearful  at several points in her speech (REUTERS)
Yulia Navalnaya was tearful at several points in her speech (REUTERS)

“The most important thing is the people close to Putin - his friends, associates and keepers of mafia money," she said.

"You and all of us must fight the criminal gang. And the political innovation here is to apply the methods of fighting organised crime, not political competition.

“Not statements of concern but the search for mafia associates in your countries, for discreet lawyers and financiers who are helping Putin and his friends to hide money."

The mother went on to speak about her husband’s upcoming funeral, on Friday.

“I’m not sure yet whether it will be peaceful or whether the police will arrest those who have come to say goodbye to my husband,” she said.

The details for Mr Navalny's funeral were released earlier on Wednesday, when his spokesperson Kira Yarmysh announced it on X.

She said the service will take place at 2pm Moscow time (11am GMT) in the Church of the Icon of the Mother of God in the district of Maryino in the Russian capital.

Mr Navalny's spokesperson Kira Yarmysh told people to get there early, before Mr Navalny is buried at the Borisovskoye cemetery.

Ms Yarmysh also claimed that she and Mr Navalny's allies had been looking for a hall to accommodate his supporters at a farewell ceremony, but said on Tuesday they had been refused everywhere.

She claims one venue had told them that “funeral agencies were prohibited from working with us".

Ivan Zhdanov, the director of Mr Navalny's Anti-Corruption Foundation, said the funeral was initially planned for Thursday - the day of Putin's annual address to Russia's Federal Assembly - but no venue would agree to hold it then.

"The real reason is clear. The Kremlin understands that nobody will need Putin and his message on the day we say farewell to Alexei," he wrote on Telegram.

Mr Navalny's supporters have accused President Vladimir Putin of having him murdered ahead of a potential prisoner swap.

The Kremlin said it is unaware of any agreement to free Mr Navalny prior to his death.

It comes after an associate claimed that talks to free Mr Navalny in a prisoner swap were in their “final stages” when he died.

Mr Navalny's death certificate reportedly states that he died of natural causes.

His mother Lyudmila Navalnaya accused authorities of trying to blackmail her into holding a private funeral for her son by initially withholding his body, an assertion the Kremlin called absurd.