Dutch probe Russian activist's suicide

28th January 2013, Comments 0 comments

The Dutch government is investigating the death of a Russian opposition activist who committed suicide in a detention centre earlier this month after his asylum application was turned down, officials said Monday.

"The investigation should be finished within the next six to eight weeks," Justice Ministry spokeswoman Charlotte Menten told AFP.

"The outcome will be sent to Deputy Justice Minister Fred Teeven before being made public," she said.

Alexander Dolmatov, a 36-year-old engineer, was found dead at a Rotterdam Airport detention centre on January 17. Officials said he committed suicide, but declined to give further details.

Dolmatov fled Russia last June after authorities searched his home to determine his role in a violent Moscow rally on the eve of Russian President Vladimir Putin's swearing-in to a third term the previous month.

The opposition activist was a member of the Other Russia movement, led by writer and radical leftist dissident Eduard Limonov.

His political asylum application in the Netherlands was turned down in December because officials from the national immigration service (IND) believed he did not run a serious risk by returning to Russia, Dutch media reported.

But Dolmatov's Dutch lawyer Marq Wijngaarden told AFP: "He absolutely did not want to go back to Russia. He was afraid he would be locked up in jail if he did."

Wijngaarden said he sent Teeven a list of questions Monday which he hoped would "clarify some aspects around the last days of Dolmatov's death", saying as the IND's decision was under appeal his client should have been released.

Dutch daily NRC Handelsblad reported on Friday that Dolmatov, who was working for a Russian-based missile manufacturer, was approached several times by the Russian FSB security services, the successor to the KGB, and may have been asked to infiltrate an unnamed "organisation".

"Dolmatov refused, but indicated that he was flattered at being approached," the paper said, quoting discussions between Dolmatov and the IND.

Dolmatov's suicide has generated much interest in the Netherlands, with Queen Beatrix calling it a "tragic incident".

His death has threatened to cast a shadow over year-long celebrations marking bilateral relations between Russia and the Netherlands, with a possible visit by Putin mooted later this year.


© 2013 AFP

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