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Alexei Navalny, a prominent opposition figure in Russia for the past decade, has passed away while incarcerated in a jail located in the Arctic Circle, as

confirmed by the prison service.

Navalny, known as President Vladimir Putin's most outspoken critic, was serving a lengthy 19-year prison sentence on charges widely regarded as politically motivated. He had been transferred to one of Russia's harshest penal colonies late last year.

According to the prison service in the Yamalo-Nenets district, Navalny suddenly fell ill after a walk on Friday, quickly losing consciousness. Despite the efforts of an emergency medical team to resuscitate him, Navalny could not be revived.

The cause of Navalny's death is currently under investigation.

Just a day prior to his passing, Navalny was seen appearing well and laughing during a court hearing conducted via video link.

Following the announcement of Navalny's death, the international community commended his bravery in challenging Putin's regime. France described him as a martyr who resisted Russian oppression, while Norway held Russian authorities accountable for his demise.

Meanwhile, Dmitry Peskov, the spokesman for President Putin, stated that Navalny's death had been reported to the president, who was on an official visit to Chelyabinsk at the time.

Navalny, aged 47, had faced numerous obstacles in his efforts to challenge Putin's leadership, including a poisoning incident in August 2020 with a Novichok nerve agent. Despite the risks, he returned to Russia in January 2021 after receiving medical treatment abroad, only to be immediately detained upon his arrival.

His imprisonment effectively ended any hopes of political opposition to Putin, who is set to stand unopposed in the upcoming elections.

Navalny's death adds to a series of prominent Russian figures who have died under suspicious circumstances while opposing Putin's rule. Navalny's supporters accuse the Kremlin of attempting to silence him permanently.

His time in prison was marked by numerous instances of solitary confinement, with Navalny spending over 280 days in isolation. Human rights activists have criticized the excessive punishment, suggesting it may have contributed to his death. Photo by Aleshru, Wikimedia commons.