Russia: Shocking death of journalist must be investigated

Russian news editor Irina Slavina has died after setting herself on fire in front of an interior ministry office in Nizhniy Novgorod (Russia) on Friday October 2. She earlier wrote on Facebook: “I ask you to blame the Russian Federation for my death.” The International and European Federation of Journalists (IFJ and EFJ) join the Russian Union of Journalists (RUJ) in calling on Russian authorities to investigate Slavina’s self-immolation and death.

Credits: Journalists’ and Media Workers’ Union

Irina Slavina, the editor-in-chief of Koza Press news website, died at the scene from the resulting burns. She was 47 years old.

On Thursday 1 October, Irina Slavina reported police stormed her flat looking for materials related to the pro-democracy group Open Russia. She claimed that 12 people had forced their way into her flat and seized flash drives, her and her daughter’s laptop and her and her husband's mobile phones.

Before setting herself on fire, Slavina published a post on Facebook, which read: “For my death, please blame the Russian Federation.”

Russia’s Investigative Committee confirmed that Irina Slavina, who leaves behind a husband and daughter, had died but denied any connection to a search of the journalist’s flat. The Nizhny Novgorod Investigative Committee Department said in a statement that Irina “was a witness and was neither a suspect nor the one accused in the criminal investigation.”

According to media reports, Slavina was regularly harassed by the authorities for her political position and journalistic activities.

RUJ demanded “a comprehensive and objective investigation of the tragedy that occurred”.

IFJ General Secretary, Anthony Bellanger, said: "We are shocked by Irina Slavina's tragic death and we urge the Russian authorities to launch a thorough investigation into the circumstances that led her to commit suicide. There are plenty of unanswered questions that need to be clarified, such as the reasons behind the intrusive search she and her family were victims of".

For more information, please contact IFJ on +32 2 235 22 16

The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 146 countries

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