♦ The impunity of police and prison staff –
in Karelia, Chechnya and Strasbourg ♦
On 26 February 2017 Ildar DADIN was released from prison in the Altai Region, following the quashing of his conviction by the Supreme Court. He was serving a 2½ year sentence as the first, and as yet only, person to have been convicted under Article 212.1, a new law introducing criminal liability for repeated violations of Russia’s draconian laws on public assembly.
While held in a prison in Karelia, Ildar Dadin alleged in a letter that he had been subjected to torture. “Initially, he says, the prison authorities abused him verbally,” reports The Moscow Times. “Then, he was brought to the prison director’s office, where he was hung by his wrists and threatened with rape. He was left hanging in his cell, he says, sure he would be raped. Dadin went to see the prison nurse, but she concluded there was no sign of abuse on his body”. “The problem is the sadists know how to beat [so nobody notices],” he says. Instead, the prison director beat him for appealing to the nurse and starting a hunger strike, Dadin alleges.
In an article published by Human Rights in Ukraine, Tom Balmforth, reported that Dadin said he had been “broken” by the abuse he suffered in prison. Dadin says that he intends to take several months off to recover, but then intends to continue to campaign against torture in Russia.
On 3 March 2017 The Moscow Times reported that Russia had declined to fulfill recommendations by the European Court on Human Rights [ECtHR] on combating torture during police detention.
In September 2016 the ECtHR had said that the Russian authorities should implement measures to combat police brutality after reviewing an application by Tatyana Shmelyova, who alleges that her son, Denis Vyrzhikovsky was beaten to death in police custody in 2010. The Russian authorities have now stated they will not implement the proposed measures against torture.
On 2 March 2017 Caucasian Knot reported that Igor Kalyapin, prominent anti-torture campaigner and chair of the Committee for the Prevention of Torture, has appealed to the head of the Grozny police department to open disciplinary proceedings against police officers who refused to initiate a criminal case with regard to an attack on him in the Chechen capital.
(e = English)
“Russian Activist Dadin Released From Prison”, RFE/RL, 26 February 2017 [e]
“’Somebody Is Going to Be Beaten’. Torture is still widespread in Russian prisons — released activist Ildar Dadin”, The Moscow Times, 28 February 2017 [e]
Tom Balmforth, “Freed from prison, Russian activist says he was ’broken’ by abuse”, Human Rights in Ukraine, 28 February 2017 [e]
“Russia Rejects Rights Court’s Recommendations for Combating Police Torture”, The Moscow Times, 3 March 2017 [e]
“Igor Kalyapin challenges eighth refusal to institute criminal case on attack in Chechnya”,’ Caucasian Knot, 2 March 2017 [e]
Eva Hartog, “Jailed Russian Dissident Pleads for His Life in Letter Home to Wife”, The Moscow Times, 6 November 2016 [e]