3 October 2020
Igor Kalyapin heads the Committee against Torture and is a member of the Presidential Human Rights Council and laureate of the Moscow Helsinki Group human rights award
“It’s crucial we understand who was behind the prosecution and harassment of Irina Slavina, editor-in-chief of the online publication Koza.Press, who committed self-immolation outside a police station in Nizhny Novgorod,” Igor Kalyapin, head of the Committee against Torture, member of the Presidential Human Rights Council, and laureate of the Moscow Helsinki Group award for the protection of human rights, told Ekho Moskvy radio station:
“It’s likely all we can do now is figure out, after carefully examining of the documents from the criminal case, who initiated all these senseless searches. Everything was documented, of course, as investigative measures of sorts, but in reality was all done as a form of harassment. They had their reasons for showing up at 6 AM with a metal-cutting tool, threatening to break down the door. After all she had only been made a witness in the case as a pretext, just to on the safe side. And they came accompanied by officers from the National Guards’ Special Rapid Response Unit [SOBR]. Over the course of several hours, they took literally everything from her home: notebooks, work notes, flash drives. They forbade her from contacting a lawyer. In this way, they restricted her ability to engage in her professional activities. We are trying to understand who initiated all of this. It’s obvious to me that it wasn’t the Investigative Committee.”
Kalyapin added that as soon as the names of those involved are known, they must be disclosed to the public.
Yesterday, the editor-in-chief of Nizhny Novgorod-based Koza.Press, Irina Slavina, died of self-immolation in front of the Ministry of Internal Affairs building. Her suicide was preceded by a string of measures of harassment, fines, and a search of her home.
Earlier, the Independent Journalists’ Union demanded that a criminal case be opened based on the article “incitement to suicide.” Aleksei Venediktov, editor-in-chief of Ekho Moskvy, posed a similar request to the Prosecutor General, Igor Krasnov.
Translated by Nina dePalma