1,500 suicide-promoting groups in Vkontakte (In Contact) alone


‘They push our children to death’: Report links VK groups to 130 teen suicides

Published time: 17 May, 2016 01:41Edited time: 22 May, 2016 11:14

© Ivan Alvarado / Reuters

Both open and closed-membership groups containing posts on suicide in VKontakte (VK), Europe’s largest social network, will reportedly be blocked following a Russian media report on teenage deaths allegedly provoked by such online communities.

Russia’s media watchdog Roskomnadzor together with state consumer rights agency Rospotrebnadzor are checking information published in Novaya Gazeta on Monday that showed over a hundred teenagers killed themselves within six months after becoming members of such online groups.

The journalistic investigation titled “The Groups of death” claimed that 130 children suicides committed in different Russian cities between November 2015 and April 2016 are mostly related to a number of VK groups that have been “systematically and consistently working to step by step push the children” to death. 

“Some grown-up people... have been working with children with knowledge of their interests and hobbies, using the language and culture they like. They work with the knowledge of psychology, convincing girls that they are ‘fat’ and telling boys that they are ‘losers’ in this world, but there is another world in which they are ‘chosen.’”

“New deaths have also been announced” in these groups, the report claims, adding that it has passed its information on to law enforcement and investigative authorities, as well as the media watchdog. 

Roskomnadzor has already blocked the vast majority of open VK groups containing suicide related materials, Interfax reported. Meanwhile, VK, which has over 350 million users, has said it will independently permanently block similar closed groups following a Rospotrebnadzor request, TASS reported. While the investigation is ongoing, phone numbers of psychological hotlines for teenagers will also be published on some VK accounts. 

According to the consumer rights agency, some 30 percent of all links containing information on how to commit suicide and the same percentage of the calls it receives are related to VK. Over 9,300 pages containing such content have been blocked by the agency since November of 2012, RIA Novosti reported. 

However, at the same time as some online groups are being blocked, even more pop up under new names, the Novaya Gazeta article says. 

“In the place of one blocked [group promoting suicide], others immediately appear. The scheme is well worked-out, it’s called ‘Invite.’ When such a group is launched, it posts an announcement offering ‘lifelong invites’ for sale for 100 rubles [$1.5] to access a ‘private group.’”

The groups tell its users to make a copy of their payment details, saying that if a group is banned, they would still regain membership in a new one after proof of payment is provided. 

READ MORE: Media watchdog to target reposts of banned info on social networks – report 

There are no less than 1,500 groups on VK promoting suicide, according to the article. Novaya Gazeta journalist Galina Mursalieva, the report’s author, who launched her own investigation with the help of some parents whose teenage children died after joining such groups, calls them “radioactive junk heaps” that adults can resist “but children breathe in.”

Parents in central Russia lost their 12-year-old daughter in December of last year when she fell from a 14th-floor balcony. Her mother received a call from her child’s number, but found a medic on the other end of the line who told her: “It’s not your dear daughter, it’s an ambulance doctor, your child is dead.” Shortly before that dreadful call, someone else had called the woman’s daughter, after which the girl rushed out of her home, never to return.

“[Before her death] she started to draw butterflies and whales a lot. I liked her drawings, they were beautiful, made me proud of her talents. Not for a second did I have an alarming thought. How could I have known that those [online groups] have made them symbolic: butterflies live only for a day, while whales strand themselves on land, committing suicide,”the girl’s mother told the newspaper.

However, the girl’s father doubts his daughter’s death was a deliberate suicide. Her school bag was found on a roof too far for a girl to have thrown it, the father noted. He also said that her body was lying in a “suspicious spot, as if she had been pushed.”

Three more girls in other cities across Russia died on the same day, the report claimed, saying that all had been members of the same online groups.

The report also refers to an online video recorded in February that shows a teenage boy falling from a bridge. The journalist says that two men can be seen approaching the “hesitating boy” before he falls, after which they run away. Images from the death of another girl, whose head was cut off by a train after she laid down on tracks, also appeared online “almost immediately,” the report says.

A day before she died in November 2015, the girl posted a selfie on VK of her standing by a moving train with the caption “bye.” She reportedly became an “icon” for many teenagers in online suicidal communities after a photo of her severed head lying beside her body appeared.

“Underage suicides have been committed long before [this] tragedy happened. But why right now has it turned into a symbol? When a lot of time is dedicated to studying it, one can see that the ‘promotion’ of [this girl’s] death has been thoroughly planned. Reposts of it have been paid for, her clone pages have also been offered for sale,” the report says, adding that photographs of the teenager’s grave, as well as pieces of her blood-stained scarf and screen shots of her chats, have been on sale and in great demand.

The article caused much discussion in Russia, both in traditional and social media. It was criticized by a number of journalists as well as medical experts specializing in teenage suicides.

Critics said the story was biased against the public groups it accused of serious misdeeds, and that the author had failed to provide any evidence that such pages can make teenagers otherwise not contemplating suicide take their lives. Teenage suicides are a serious issue, but research links them to family trouble, bullying, a lack of psychological support in dealing with problems, and other personal factors.

Kanadski premijer promovise ideju Euthanzaije.....


Canadian PM calls to legalize assisted suicide

Published time: 29 May, 2016 13:17

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau © Toru Yamanaka / Reuters

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he hopes the long-awaited bill allowing physician-assisted suicide passes in parliament before the June 6 deadline. Otherwise, Canadians would have “uneven access” to euthanasia, he said.

“There will be people who by many objective criteria should have access to medical assistance in dying will not be able to because practitioners will be concerned there isn’t any legal framework or protection for them,” Trudeau told reporters.

He added there will be “other people in different areas of the country who will have access to it when again according to fairly objective criteria, they should not have access to medical assistance in dying.”

The prohibition of assisted suicide was challenged by the Canadian Supreme Court in 2015, following a case of two women who suffered from severe neurological conditions. The court ruled that provincial courts can approve applications for euthanasia until the new law passes and gave the government time to prepare the bill. It ordered the deadline on June 6.

In compliance with the court decision, Bill C-14 was tabled in parliament by Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould in April 2016. The legislation will restrict assisted suicide only to mentally competent adults who have enormous sufferings. It also allows a 15-day reflection period.

Read more

Canadian MPs are scheduled to vote on the bill on Monday and Tuesday. If approved it will go to the Senate, which has one week to pass the legislation.

“I am still hopeful that we’re going to be able to reach the June 6 deadline imposed by the Supreme Court,” Trudeau said. “We’re certainly working hard towards that. And I have confidence that the more independent and thoughtful Senate is going to do right by the responsibilities that Canadians expect it to.”

Trudeau added he has heard from many medical practitioners and organizations who are very concerned “that what it’s going to result in is very uneven access” to assisted dying across Canada.

The only province that allows euthanasia in Canada is French-speaking Quebec. Bill #52, passed in 2014, states people can request medical aid with dying in case of “an incurable disease, which is causing unbearable suffering.”

Passed before the 2015 Supreme Court ruling, the bill was decried by the federal government as illegal.

The euthanasia debate has been a hot topic overseas in Europe, with a children’s euthanasia bill being signed into law by Belgium’s king in March 2014.

The suicide of an 86-year-old couple in France in November 2013 reignited the euthanasia debate in the country. While the practice remains illegal, doctors can refrain from using treatments, which is deemed a form of “passive euthanasia.”

Kanada legalizovala Euthanaziju....


Canada passes assisted suicide bill, critics say it will 'trap patients in intolerable suffering'

Published time: 18 Jun, 2016 10:08

© Shaun Best / Reuters

Canada has adopted a law permitting assisted suicide for terminally ill adults whose death is “reasonably foreseeable." Some critics say the law prevents those with degenerative conditions such as Alzheimer's from seeking medically-assisted death.

Caving in to pressure by Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government after weeks of rigorous parliamentary debate, senators finally approved the so-called Bill C-14 in a vote of 44 to 28 on Friday. The Canadian Medical Association said it was "pleased that historic federal legislation on medical aid in dying is now in place."

The law was originally proposed after Canada's Supreme Court overturned a ban on doctor-assisted suicide in 2015. The court’s decision extended to adults suffering from intolerable physical or psychological pain and untreatable medical condition.

Read more

Critics, including politicians, patients and human rights activists, have been up in arms over the new restrictive law, which allows the luxury of assisted dying exclusively to adults suffering from an "incurable'' disease or disability, "in an advanced stage of irreversible decline.''  

"The government's bill will trap patients in intolerable suffering and takes away their hard-won charter right to choose assistance in dying," Josh Paterson, executive director the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association, told Canadian Press.

Many fear that the bill, which received royal assent less than two hours after the Senate vote, will fail to protect vulnerable Canadians.

“The biggest question is, can this bill as written right now actually protect somebody who is either depressed, having mental illness issues, or is incompetent,” executive director of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, Alex Schadenberg told LifeSiteNews. “And the answer is no.”

He said that under Bill C-14, “the decision of the nurse practitioner or the doctor is only based on whether or not they are ‘of the opinion’ that you meet the criteria.”

“This is, in fact, a very horrific bill as it’s written. It is worse than the Belgian law; it is worse than the Netherlands,” Schadenberg added.

Medically-assisted suicide is legal in the Netherlands, Switzerland, Albania, Colombia and Japan, as well as in the American states of Washington, California, Vermont, Montana, Oregon and New Mexico.

"Medical assistance in dying is a difficult, complex and deeply personal issue," Canada's Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould and Health Minister Jane Philpott acknowledged in a joint statement, adding that the legislation succeeded in striking "the right balance between personal autonomy for those seeking access to medically assisted dying and protecting the vulnerable."

Preko 120 Kanadjana se odlucilo za Eutanaziju..za 5 meseci...


Over 120 Canadians euthanized since law passed in mid-June – media

Published time: 3 Sep, 2016 10:19

© Philippe Wojazer / Reuters

Some 120 people have opted for doctor-assisted death, or euthanasia, in Canada since the State Senate passed a controversial law, allowing patients to voluntarily end their lives. The actual number may be higher as the government has not started an official count.

 to the broadcaster CBC News, which tried to obtain data from all 13 of Canada’s provinces, most of the cases were recorded by coroners in Ontario (49) and British Columbia (46), with Alberta, Manitoba and Saskatchewan reporting 27 medically assisted deaths between them. 

However, the actual figures may be significantly higher, as the remaining eight provinces were unable or did not agree to share the information citing the possible “infringement of confidentiality or distress for families who may identify with the numbers.

Read more

Official figures have not been drawn up, as Canada’s federal government has not started officially tracking assisted suicides. The authorities have also yet to come up with regulations as to what information should be recorded when a person demands a medically assisted death.

These regulations could include specifying the kind of information to be provided, the body that would analyze the information, and how often reports would be published,” a spokesperson for Health Minister Jane Philpott said.

The numbers obtained by CBC also allegedly show a mere 10 percent of cases in which Canadians have demanded medical help to end their lives since the procedure became legal on June 17.

To give you a rough guide, we could say that for 10 serious requests that would come forward, only actually about one of them would proceed towards this intervention,” Dr. Gary Rodin from Toronto's University Health Network, told the 

The law was originally proposed after Canada's Supreme Court overturned a ban on euthanasia back in 2015. Dozens of medically assisted deaths took place before the new legislation was passed, as patients who wanted doctor's help to die were allowed to apply for permission from provincial judges. 

According to the legislation, which is known as Bill C-14, a person may be denied the right to doctor-assisted death for a number of reasons. The only conditions where euthanasia is granted is for adults where “natural death is reasonably foreseeable,” for those suffering from “incurable” diseases or disabilities, or when a person’s health is “in an advanced stage of irreversible decline.”

However, the wording sparked a wave of criticism from politicians, patients and human rights activists, who branded it severely restrictive. After applying for the procedure, the patient has to wait while a medical institution looks into their case before granting permission. 

The conditions of the law are already being challenged in court, but the process may take years before amendments are made. The Canadian Bar Association (CBA) recently the government to expand access to medically assisted suicide, to provide additional access to the procedure for mature minors, persons with psychiatric illness and some dementia patients.

Medically assisted suicide is currently legal in only a few countries worldwide, including Switzerland, Germany, Albania, Colombia and Japan, as well as in some US states. The Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg allow doctors to euthanize patients under strict conditions such as those in a hopeless state of health and those in great pain.

The main objections to the procedure have come from religious groups, which for the most part, oppose a person voluntarily taking his or her own life.

Danski medicinski brat dobio dozivotnu robiju za ubijanje klijenata u starackom domu...


‘Not an angel, but devil of death’: Danish nurse given life term for murdering elderly patients

Published time: 25 Jun, 2016 03:15

© Karoly Arvai / Reuters

A Danish nurse whom prosecutors described as a ‘devil of death’ has been found guilty of murdering three patients and trying to kill a fourth by deliberately giving them fatal drug overdoses.

On Friday, a Danish court sentenced Christina Hansen, 33, to life imprisonment, saying the woman “knew the patients would die [as a result of] her acts.”

Read more

Hansen was charged with administering overdoses of morphine and strong sedatives to three elderly people at a hospital in the southern town of Nykobing Falster in Denmark between 2012 and 2015.

Similar substances were also found in the body of the fourth patient whose life was saved at the last minute.

The Nykobing Falster district court said the patients received “morphine in lethal doses, and that the perpetrator was the nurse,”AFP reported.

“The accused was not an angel of death. She was a devil of death,” prosecutor Michael Boolsen said.

The woman, however, denied all charges and her lawyer appealed the decision. Lawyer Jorgen Lange called the ruling “shocking” as some of the patients had terminal conditions. According to Danish media, two of them had indicated they wanted to die when admitted to the hospital.

“I am quite sure that if Arne Herskov (one of the patients who died in 2012) had been asked if wanted to leave this world, he would have said yes,” said Lange as quoted by the Copenhagen Post.

READ MORE: Canada passes assisted suicide bill, critics say it will 'trap patients in intolerable suffering'

The prosecutor argued saying “there are no mitigating circumstances in this case.”

“We expect professionally competent care in a hospital,” he said. “This was unprofessional, incompetent and inappropriate – I decline to even call it care. Even if the patients were already dying, no one should have the right to kill them,” Boolsen said as cited by the Copenhagen Post.

Read more

Seventy witnesses were present at the hearing with several saying that Hansen had been performing harmful acts on patients for some time. They believe the nurse was looking for drama and attention.

A psychological evaluation showed the nurse was suffering from a personality disorder that involved a “persistent quest for excitement,” AFP reported. It also found Hansen was not mentally ill.

During the trial, the prosecutor agreed the case “is all about drama and self-promotion,” Danish media reported.

There had been no “direct evidence” against the suspect until police reportedly found a syringe containing an unusual mixture of two substances. The trial is said to have lasted 25 days.

“I am sincerely tired of hearing the claim that there is no evidence in this case. It is totally wrong…” Bolsoon said in the courtroom, according to Danish media.

Besides life in prison, Hansen has also been ordered to pay compensation of 425,000 kroner (€57, 000) to the family members of one victim and 25,000 kroner (€3,360) to the 74-year-old woman who survived the overdose.


Senator seeks tougher punishment for suicide promotion in wake of recent scandal

Published time: 6 Jun, 2016 15:05

© Navesh Chitrakar / Reuters

A Russian Upper House lawmaker is proposing to introduce criminal responsibility for suicide propaganda after a nationwide scandal caused by media reports on persons and groups seeking attention in social networks by romanticizing death.

Senator Anton Belyakov, of the central Russian Vladimir Region, has prepared a bill that, if passed, would amend the article of the Russian Criminal Code that orders punishment for successfully forcing someone to commit suicide with extra paragraphs introducing responsibility for inciting someone to commit suicide and assisting such an action. The sponsor of the bill describes such assistance as “pushing someone toward suicide through persuasion, bribery, deceit, providing information that forms an attractive image of suicide, including reports in mass media and electronic information networks, as well as advice on carrying out suicide attempts and lending material and tools required for this.”

Violation of the proposed ban can carry punishment between three years of restricted freedom and nine years in prison. Pushing an underage person towards suicide and acting in an organized group are considered aggravating circumstances under the fresh draft.

Senator Belyakov said in comments to Izvestia daily that his motion was prompted by the recent media reports about the so called “suicidal groups” in social networks that, according to him, had already caused a wave of teen suicides in the country.

In 2013, Russian consumer rights agency Rospotrebnadzor released a report that put Russia in the first place in the world by the number of child suicides. The harmful influence of the internet on immature children’s psyche was officially named the main factor behind this dire situation,” the lawmaker told reporters. The 2012 law on children’s protection from harmful information allows the authorities to block websites containing suicide propaganda, but orders no punishment for their creators and promoters, he added.

Due to the recent aggravation of the situation when children were pushed toward suicide on the internet, the lack of such punishment appears to be a serious drawback of our legislation. Responsibility for inciting someone to commit suicide exists in the criminal law of many nations, such as Austria, the UK, Spain, Italy, Canada, Switzerland and France,” Belyakov said.

The scandal that the senator referred to took place in mid-May. It started when Novaya Gazeta newspaper ran a story about open and closed-membership groups in Russia’s largest social network VKontakte (VK) that promote suicide among children and teens. Reporters claimed that 130 child suicides that happened between November 2015 and April 2016 were related to these groups that had been “systematically and consistently working to step by step push the children” to death. According to the article, there were at least 1,500 suicide-promoting groups in Vkontakte (In Contact) alone.

New deaths have also been announced” in these groups, the report claims, adding that it has passed its information on to law enforcement and investigative authorities, as well as to the media watchdog.

Russia’s media watchdog Roskomnadzor, together with state consumer rights agency Rospotrebnadzor, said they were checking the Novaya Gazeta report and added that most of the open VK groups containing suicide-related materials had been already blocked before the reporters published the story.

The article has caused a lot of public discussion and drew criticism from journalists as well as medical experts specializing in teenage suicides. These critics said the story was biased against the public groups it accused of serious misdeeds, and that the author had failed to provide any evidence that such pages make teenagers otherwise not contemplating suicide take their lives.

Suicid -"EXIT": The Appeal of Suicide

Suicid -"EXIT": The Appeal of Suicide
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Living Waters
Published on Aug 15, 2017
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