Russian opposition activist Alexei Navalny attends a protest in Moscow. Russia's federal prison service announced his death on 16 February. Credit: (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin, File)

Alexei Navalny, the fiercest critic of Russian president Vladimir Putin has died in prison, Russia’s prison agency said.

The federal prison service said in a statement that Navalny felt unwell after a walk on Friday and lost consciousness. An ambulance arrived to try to rehabilitate him, but he died.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov says Putin was informed of Navalny’s death and the prison service was looking into the death in line with standard procedures.

Late last year, Navalny was moved to an Arctic penal colony to serve the remainder of his 19-year sentence on charges of extremism.

A report by Metro says that the initial cause of death was reported as a “detached blood clot”, however, the prison services say the cause of death is “being established”.

Navalny’s lawyer, Leonid Solovyov, told Russian media that he is not commenting at this time. Although chief of staff for Navalny, Leonid Volkov, wrote on X: “Russian authorities publish a confession that they killed Alexey Navalny in prison. We do not have any way to confirm it or to prove this isn’t true.”

Another X post from Volok below, stated that he does not “trust them a penny.”

Navalny had been behind bars since January 2021, when he returned to Moscow after recuperating in Germany from nerve agent poisoning that he blamed on the Kremlin.

Before his arrest, he campaigned against official corruption, organised major anti-Kremlin protests and ran for public office.

He had since received three prison sentences, all of which he rejected as politically motivated.

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