Justice ministry officials are to investigate the suicide of a Russian dissident in a Dutch deportation centre, junior justice minister Fred Teeven said at the weekend.
The aim of the probe is to pull together ‘all the facts about the suicide,’ Teeven said. The Russian foreign affairs ministry has also called for a thorough investigation into the death of Aleksandr Dolmatov, who fled Russia after being involved in a demonstration opposing president Vladimir Putin.
Dolmatov killed himself last week, shortly after being moved to Rotterdam airport’s deportation centre when his application for political asylum was rejected.
However, according to his Dutch lawyer, Marq Wijngaarden, Dolmatov should not have been held there because he had launched an appeal. Instead, he should have remained at the ‘s Gravendeel refugee centre pending the outcome.
The lawyer also claims Dolmatov was terrified about being sent back to Russia. His suicide note shows he was frightened and full of guilt. In the note, he called himself a traitor.
According to the NRC, Dolmatov had already tried to kill himself on Sunday, two days after his application was rejected. This was grounds for the immigration service to step in. However, they failed to inform his lawyer.
Dolmatov, arrested last May during a demonstration opposing president Vladimir Putin, applied for political asylum in the Netherlands in June, saying he feared for his life.
According to the BBC, the Dutch acting ambassador in Moscow, Onno Elderenbosch, said it was clear from a suicide note that Dolmatov’s death was not triggered by his asylum disappointment.
Wijngaarden says the immigration service rejected the application because Dolmatov did not face a serious risk if he was sent back to Russia. The most he could expect was a fine of 500 rubles (€12.50), the lawyer quoted the IND as saying.
The NRC reports on Sunday that Dolmatov’s mother does not believe her son’s suicide was ‘voluntary’.
She fears her son may have been threatened by the Russian secret service and that the suicide note is supposed to be a warning to other Russians who demonstrate against Putin and then flee abroad.
Website RBTH.ru carries a translation of part of the six-page note.
‘I am leaving so as not to return as a traitor and defame everyone, our whole family. Such things happen, please endure this. I am with you, and I know you will endure. This is the best option.
‘Say in Russia this was just an accident. What drove me to flee Russia is my laziness and slovenliness over which I failed to study the new laws. I betrayed an honest man, and I betrayed my homeland’s security. If it is possible, transfer my body to Russia. Russia is stronger than any other country, and it will only be stronger.’