The treatment of a Russian opposition activist who killed himself after being refused political asylum in the Netherlands was negligent in a number of areas, according to a critical justice ministry report.
Aleksander 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.
He was found dead in a detention centre in early January where he had been sent to await deportation after his application for asylum failed.
The ministry report says organisations, procedures and systems throughout the chain for dealing with asylum applications had failed, as had those supporting him with legal and medical help, Nos reported.
Dolmatov should not have been held in detention because he was appealing against having his claim for asylum rejected, the report said. In addition, paperwork from the immigration police about Dolmatov contained the wrong information.
Police and the duty lawyer who saw him when he was locked up were also ‘notably passive’ the inspectors said. Nursing staff also failed in their duties and will face disciplinary proceedings, chief inspector Gertjan Bos told a news conference.
Nevertheless, it is impossible to say if Dolmatov would have survived if he had been treated differently, the report said.
In a reaction, junior justice minister Fred Teeven said he considered the report’s findings to be ‘extremely serious’, RTL news reported.
Describing his death as a tragedy, Teeven said the Dutch state took full responsibility for the mistakes and is in talks with his family about financial compensation.