Navalny’s body located in Salekhard hospital, no autopsy yet performed

Novaya Gazeta Europe has learnt that the body of Alexey Navalny is in the morgue of the Salekhard District Clinical Hospital. As of Saturday, no autopsy had yet been performed, sources said.

Following Navalny’s sudden death on Friday, his body was initially taken to the town of Labytnangi, 36 kilometres away from the penal colony where he died in the village of Kharp in Russia’s far northern Yamalo-Nenets autonomous district. However, sources say that the body was later on Friday transferred to the District Clinical Hospital in the regional capital of Salekhard.

“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," said a paramedic in the Salekhard ambulance service.

“They drove him to the morgue, brought him in, and then stationed two policemen in front of the door. They might as well have put up a sign saying ‘something mysterious is going on here!’ Of course, everyone wanted to know what had happened, what all the secrecy was about and whether they were trying to hide something serious.”

It soon emerged that the body delivered had been that of Alexey Navalny and that his death was “not of criminal nature”, a term used to indicate that firearms were not involved. Word then spread that hospital pathologists had been banned from performing an autopsy, the source added.

Salekhard District Clinical Hospital. Photo:

Salekhard District Clinical Hospital. Photo:

“At this point opinion becomes divided,” the paramedic said. “Some said that an order had come from Moscow to await the arrival of specialists from the capital, while others said that the hospital doctors themselves had refused to perform an autopsy. The case is political, and it is not clear how it will turn out. And if you perform an autopsy and receive a direct order to change the result, you can’t get out of it. And you can also be made the guilty party. … But if there was no autopsy, there’s nobody to ask.”

The paramedic also said that he’d been told Navalny’s body showed signs of bruising, and although the bruises did not appear to have been from beatings, Navalny must have still been alive for bruising to appear, he added.

“As an experienced paramedic, I can say that the injuries described by those who saw them appeared to be from convulsions. … If a person is convulsing and others try to hold him down but the convulsions are very strong, then bruising appears. They also said he had a bruise on his chest — the kind that comes from indirect cardiac massage.”

“So they did try to resuscitate him, and he probably died of cardiac arrest,” the paramedic said. “But nobody is saying anything about why he had a cardiac arrest.”

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