Sergei Nikitin: Rights defenders in Urals report deaths of female convicts in IK-16 prison colony

posted 16 Jul 2019, 01:19 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 20 Oct 2019, 11:07 by Translation Service ]
16 July 2019

In these blogs, Sergei Nikitin presents a selection of materials about human rights in Russia.

Sergei Nikitin headed Amnesty International's Moscow office from 2003 until 2017. He is a member of the advisory council of Rights in Russia.

Human rights activists in the Urals federal district have stated in a report on their website that a number of female convicts in the IK-16 prison colony have died. 


In an afterword to the document, human rights activist Aleksei Sokolov writes: “The FSIN (Federal Penitentiary Service) system is a road of death where people can disappear forever. I do not know how many more prisoners will die, but the FSIN system needs urgent reform and more humanistic values. This reform must be in deeds, not in words. At the same time, there should be real control over the penitentiary system. And of course, there needs to be a reassigning of penitentiary medical units to other federal and regional structures or municipalities at a legislative level.”


Between February and June 2019, Ural-based lawyers and attorneys from human rights organisations interviewed 20 women with ties to IK-16 in the Sverdlovsk Region, and 4 employees of a local hospital.


After the survey, they concluded that the local prison colony was responsible for their deaths, with the activists also claiming that the representatives of the prison administration intimidated female prisoners and forced them to refuse any legal aid.


The women interviewed stated that convicts did not receive adequate medical attention in IK-16. Female convicts are not under observation and do not undergo preventive medical examinations. There is no hospital within the colony, no medical specialists and only an inadequately stocked first-aid post.


Female prisoners died in their beds as a result of both late medical assistance and lack of medicine. Neither the IK-16 administration, nor its medical staff paid attention to the dying prisoners, who were eventually sent to a hospital in Karpinsk, where they later died.


According to preliminary data, between 2016 and 2019, 13 women died as a result of failure to provide timely qualified medical care in IK-16.


All of the above-mentioned convicts died in the Karpinsk hospital.


In February 2019, human rights activists Aleksei Sokolov, Yana Gelmel and lawyer Roman Kachanov interviewed 11 female convicts in IK-16, using video recording. During these meetings, inmates spoke about the deaths in the colony and how they are treated by the colony administration.


In May 2019, the head of the infectious disease department at the hospital wrote a letter to the head of IK-16, in which she asked the colony staff to pay special attention to a group of HIV-positive prisoners who were sent to the hospital. These patients arrived in a serious condition, often in agony. All the efforts to treat women admitted from the colony were ineffective, due to their late hospitalisation.


It is yet to be seen whether the prosecutor's office will pay any attention to the human rights defenders’ statements.

The report on which this blog is based, 'Осужденных-женщин в ИК-16 доводили до смерти. Аналитическая справка,' can be read in full here. The photo is from the report.

Translation by James Lofthouse