Sergei Nikitin: Aleksei Sokolov reports on improvements at the Krasnoturinsk women's prison colony in Sverdlovsk region

posted 29 Jul 2019, 12:31 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 20 Oct 2019, 11:06 by Translation Service ]
26 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.

According to Aleksei Sokolov, the head of the “Legal Foundation” Association: 
“There is a new head at the Krasnoturinsk women's colony No.16”

On 17 July 2019 Aleksei Sokolov and Yana Gelmel from Legal Foundation, a human rights organisation, visited the women's correctional colony, meeting with several convicts and providing them with legal advice.

Aleksei Sokolov: “We met the women in the colony, who we were not able to meet back in March. Under the previous director, these women “refused” to talk to us and seemed to be depressed.

This time, we felt like we saw a completely different set of prisoners. Women were laughing and seemed happy. They were neat and tidy, wore makeup and were smiling. They thanked us kindly and told us about the changes that have occurred in the colony since we got involved. Women are increasingly being provided with essential necessary medical care. Their requests are no longer being ignored by administration representatives, and they are taken to a free hospital for examination at the first sign of illness. Life in the colony has changed significantly for the better.

Some women still arrived at the meeting in the old manner - with the statements about refusing meetings, and all the statements were handed to the administration representative with us present. I think it was for the last time. "

The representatives of the organisation are confident that the rule of law has returned to the colony and that women will be treated as such. Now human rights activists intend to bring to justice those who, by their actions or inaction, led to the deaths of prisoners.

There was an unofficial and illegal system of punishments for convicts in the IK-16, established by the colony administration. After this information came to light, the administration of IK-16 began to exert unprecedented psychological pressure on female prisoners, forcing them to retract their testimonies and refuse the help of lawyers and human rights activists.

Pictured: Aleksei Sokolov and Yana Gelmel of Legal Foundation, a human rights NGO based in Ekaterinburg.

Source: 'There is a new director at the IK-16 prison colony, where inmates previously died,' Pravozashchitniki Urala, 19 July 2019

Translated by James Lofthouse