Russian rights groups Open Russia, Memorial and Public Verdict Foundation called on authorities Tuesday to stop using home searches to intimidate opponents. This call came after journalist Irina Slavina died from setting herself on fire in front of the interior ministry office Friday following a police raid of her apartment.
On October 1, Slavina reported that her house was raided by 12 people, including Investigative Committee officers, police, the Special Rapid Response Unit, and official witnesses. They reportedly used a saw and crowbar to gain access to her home, and they were allegedly searching for materials linked to the Open Russia opposition group. Open Russia is financed by Mikhail Khodorkovsky.
The officers took flash drives, computers, laptops and smartphones from Slavina’s family. While Slavina’s home was being raided, five other residents’ homes were also being searched.
Slavina blamed Russian authorities for her death in a Facebook post. She reportedly received constant pressure from authorities and was subjected to raids and investigations frequently.
In response to Slavina’s death, the rights groups issued a joint statement that called on authorities to refrain from carrying out unwarranted searches and to respect procedures when carrying out raids. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), and the Russian Union of Journalists (RUJ) also called on Russian authorities to investigate Slavina’s death.