The Nizhny Novgorod Department of the Investigative Committee responded to the application of the lawyers with the Committee Against Torture requesting to check the circumstances of the suicide of local journalist Irina Slavina. The investigators called the lawyers’ arguments to be “unsubstantiated” and refused to perform a check that could prove that the law-enforcement officers prosecuted Irina in an organized manner so that she stopped her journalism activity.
In October 2020, the Committee Against Torture started a public investigation of Slavina’s self-immolation. Having questioned her friends, colleagues and relatives, the lawyers came to the conclusion that she had been subjected to organized pressure by the Nizhny Novgorod police officers and the Prosecutor’s Office for a prolonged period of time.
The information gathered did not allow opening a criminal case on incitement to suicide (Article 110 of the Criminal Code of the RF). However, the lawyers are convinced that there are grounds for initiating proceedings with regard to obstruction of journalists’ legal professional activity (Article 144 of the Criminal Code), abuse of office (Article 285 of the Criminal Code) and exceeding official authority (Article 286 of the Criminal Code). In addition, the lawyers believe that an effective check would allow establishing the violation of Article 2 of the Convention of Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (“right to life”) with regard to Slavina.
According to the investigative authorities, the journalist burned herself due to “mixed personality disorder”, which she was diagnosed with in the course of the official posthumous expert examination. The Committee Against Torture involved a group of independent experts-criminologists, who came to the conclusion that the state experts performed their review with numerous legal violations, and their conclusions are not grounded and their reliability is doubtful.
Editor-in-Chief of the Nizhny Novgorod media outlet Koza.Press Irina Slavina burned herself near the building of the Department of the Interior for the Nizhny Novgorod region in October 2020. Before that she wrote in her account: “I ask you to blame the Russian Federation for my death.”