Open letter to Mr. Ronald Keller


Mr. Ronald Keller,
Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Ambassador to the Russian Federation

The Royal Netherlands Embassy
6 Kalashny lane, 115127 Moscow

Your Excellency,

You are, of course, aware of the tragedy that took place in the Netherlands involving the asylum seeker Mr. Alexander Dolmatov.

In our imperfect world, the Netherlands are considered to be one of the rare specimens of countries who are characterized by their strict observance of human rights and the rule of law. However, certain clumsy actions of the intelligence and security community of the country have repeatedly provoked indignation of the Dutch society, and embarrassed the government.

With regard of the circumstances of the death of our compatriot, we carefully studied the various views, including those in your country, which revealed evidence of grave concern. Very briefly, these circumstances are as follows:

On Mr. Dolmatov, an engineer who conceptualized missiles was applied pressure to persuade him to change his status of asylum seeker to defector.

Defector status and the related deal, of course, leads to tangible benefits, uncomparable with the conditions provided to political refugees, but imposes certain obligations. Anyway, Mr. Dolmatov, as we know, refused the deal.

As a result of his refusal, Mr. Dolmatov was reportedly subjected to blackmail. He was allegedly told that the Russian authorities would be provided with false information that Mr. Dolmatov revealed Russian state secrets, and if he continues to persist, the asylum will be denied, and he will be deported to Russia.

Manipulation of the intelligence agency against the due course of justice in order to achieve a court decision to refuse asylum, is of course, of particular concern.

We assure you that, in accordance with the laws of the Netherlands and international humanitarian law, Mr. Dolmatov had had indisputable reasons to claim asylum in the first safe country.

In this regard, there is no doubt that the decision would be reversed on appeal. However, the refugee because of his naïveté was not aware of that. He committed two suicide attempts. It would seem to suggest cessation of psychological pressure, as well as an emergency provision for professional psychological help.

However, due to lack of professional competence of the responsible Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations official, the refugee’s despair has been interpreted as a sign that he was about to break and become more open to the offer. Psychological pressure continued, and led to the suicide of the man while in the care and the responsibility of the Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations of the Netherlands.

Judging by the content of the statement of your staff, the Minister Plenipotentiary of the Embassy of the Netherlands in Russia Mr. Onno Elderenbosch, The Hague does allegedly not possess the information which is presently being actively discussed.

This is particularly unfortunate in view of the fact that some of the details of the story came to us from Zoetermeer, from where the Ministry of Foreign Affairs can be reached within fifteen minutes.

The forces of reaction in our country are propagating their false assertion that special services everywhere in the world are practicing brutal lawlessness with impunity and the Dolmatov case is just one recent example. We are far from thinking that directors of the special services of the Netherlands could authorize such an unwise operation being initiated into all the details.

No one would argue that an objective investigation is necessary. Those responsible should, if found guilty, be punished.

If criminal guilt of these officials cannot be established, the Ministry of Interior and Kingdom Relations and the Ministry of Defence in your country would be better off without professionally unfit employees within their ranks.

And the last, but not the least consideration: someone has to support the family of Mr. Dolmatov who lost a breadwinner.

We are convinced that you, Your Excellency, can certainly bring these concerns to the attention of your Government, and we are kindly asking you to do so.

Faithfully yours,

Tatiana Volkova, legal adviser,
All-Russian public movement “For human rights”

Yevgeny Ikhlov, executive secretary of the Public Advisory Council,
All-Russian public movement “For human rights”

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