Russian police have arrested the administrator of an alleged online “pro-suicide” group living in the Moscow region, the Interfax news agency reported Tuesday.
At least 20 teens had fallen victim to the closed group on Russian social network Vkontakte, which urged members to take their own lives, said Investigative Committee spokesperson Svetlana Petrenko. Fifteen children are believed to have ultimately taken their own lives as a result, Interfax reported.
The Muscovite has been charged with inciting others to commit to suicide.
Groups of Death: Read about the battle to save Russian teens from self-harm online.
The existence of pro-suicide groups on social media sites has become the subject of fierce condemnation in Russia after an article on the subject appeared in the Novaya Gazeta newspaper in May. The groups have led to the deaths of 130 minors between November 2015 and April 2016, the report claimed.
Investigators in St. Petersburg have so far uncovered eight online communities urging underage users to take their own lives in a subsequent crackdown.