Kazakh Activist Tries To Commit Suicide After Alleged Pressure Imposed By Police

ORAL, Kazakhstan -- Police in the Kazakh city of Oral have launched an extortion investigation into an activist after she was hospitalized in grave condition following a suicide attempt amid what she called a pressure campaign imposed on her by police for her activism on municipal housing.

Neighbors of Nadezhda Solodovnikova told RFE/RL that she was taken to hospital on December 19 after she drank extremely concentrated vinegar.

The Western Kazakhstan regional health directorate confirmed that Solodovnikova was being treated for "an extreme poisoning" in an intensive care unit of a hospital in Oral.

Oral city police officials told RFE/RL on December 20 that a probe had begun into Solodovnikova's actions, which may be deemed as an attempt to use suicide "as an act of extortion."

A day before the hospitalization, Solodovnikova issued a video statement saying that local authorities and law enforcement were pressuring her over her active participation in rallies and other actions demanding Oral city administrators officially recognize dozens of families as owners of apartments where they were "temporarily" moved 10 years ago after inspections had officially condemned their previous dwellings.

Police in Oral have detained Solodovnikova several times in the past over the rallies and pickets.