Russian judge died in ‘suspicious circumstances’ after ‘apology’ to Putin enemy

The first photos of a Russian judge who privately apologised to a jailed opposition leader of Russian parliament and later died in "suspicious" circumstances has been released.

Judge Natalya Repnikova, 50, jailed opposition leader Alexei Navalny in February of last year and made a private omission to the jailed leader in sentencing.

The revelation comes from Navalny in a new court case, where he revealed Repnikova had passed him a note expressing her remorse at his initial imprisonment sentencing.

Along with expressing her remorse for the jailed opposition leader in a note she passed over to him, Repnikova added that she believed he was a "brave man".

Soon after, Repnikova was dead, apparently dying after a bout of coronavirus, but the jailed opposition leader has his doubts over her cause of death.

Navalny said: "I don't want to speculate but she didn't strike me as someone in a high-risk group. So if any judges want to pass on a word to me – and they will – please be careful so that you don't end up seeing forensic experts at your doorstep."

The 45-year-old also took the chance to condemn the Kremlin's war in Ukraine, saying he was "ready to stay in jail" if it meant he could "Keep telling everyone about people dying in Ukraine."

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He continued: "You can destroy many lives but you will be defeated here and in this stupid war that you are waging."

Navalny is a popular Russian opposition figure, spearheading protests against Putin's government for a decade before falling ill on a plane to Siberia in 2020.

After more than two weeks in a medically induced coma in Germany, it was revealed that Navalny had been poisoned with the military-grade Soviet-era Novichok agent.

He was jailed for two and a half years last February and was given a further nine years this March for fraud and contempt of court.

Before he was jailed, Navalny released evidence of the attempt on his life, publishing an investigation of the Kremlin assassination attempt which included a phone conversation of an assassin admitting to smearing his underwear with Novichok.

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