MOSCOW, January 22 (RIA Novosti) – The mother of a Russian opposition activist who committed suicide in The Netherlands last week has written to the country’s Queen Beatrix, asking her for an independent investigation into her son’s death.
Lyudmila Doronina, the mother of Alexander Dolmatov, an activist with the unregistered Other Russia opposition party, appealed “to the Queen and a mother of three sons” on Monday to investigate her son’s suicide and prior legal status, in a letter posted to Other Russia leader Eduard Limonov’s LiveJournal.
Dolmatov, whom the Russian authorities wanted to question in connection with a violent opposition rally in Moscow last May, committed suicide in a Rotterdam deportation center on January 17 after the Dutch authorities denied him political asylum. Dolmatov had been in the midst of appealing the decision, according to a statement posted on Tuesday by the Association of Russian Lawyers for Human Rights, citing a Dutch rights activist.
According to Dolmatov’s lawyer Yevgeny Arkhipov, the activist was held in an Amsterdam deportation center, which he called a “prison,” for about two weeks before his death.
Arkhipov also accused the Dutch authorities of making a “political decision” in not granting the activist asylum. Dolmatov was denied asylum by the Dutch authorities as they claimed he only faced a maximum fine of 500 rubles ($17), according to an activist from the European human rights organization UNITED who spoke to lenta.ru news portal.
Doronina’s letter has been received in Moscow and sent to Queen Beatrix, Onno Elderenbosch, Dutch Plenipotentiary Minister to Russia, told RIA Novosti on Tuesday. He declined, however, to specify the “official channels” by which it would reach the monarch.
In her letter, Doronina expressed concern that “no one from the Dutch side so far” has answered any of her questions, including the whereabouts of her son’s body. Russia’s Foreign Ministry said earlier it was in contact with Dutch officials over the repatriation process of Dolmatov’s body.
It will take at least three weeks to send the activist’s body back to Russia, according to the Association of Russian Lawyers for Human Rights statement, citing Dolmatov’s Dutch immigration lawyer, Marq Wijngaarden.
The Dutch Justice Ministry launched its own investigation into the affair before receiving Doronina’s letter, the Dutch envoy Elderenbosch added.
The Russian Foreign Affairs Ministry has also called for a full investigation into Dolmatov’s death.
More than 400 people were arrested during an opposition rally in Moscow on May 6, 2012, which sparked clashes between protesters and police.
Those events have led to the so-called “Bolotnaya case,” in which more than a dozen defendants face charges ranging from inciting mass unrest to using violent force against law enforcement officials.
In November, protester Maxim Luzyanin was convicted of the latter charge by a Moscow court and sentenced to four and a half years in prison.