Public Prison Observers call for the closing of a Prison Colony for infringement of human rights

posted 17 Oct 2016, 06:52 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 17 Oct 2016, 06:54 ]
11 October 2016


Following an inspection five members of a Public Observers’ Commission have called for the closing of the Prison Service’s medical corrective institution No. 58 in Sverdlovsk region.

On 10th October 2016 the members of the Commission published a statement calling for the closing of the medical institution because of its repeated infringement of prisoners’ rights and failure to act as a treatment centre, Kasparov ru. has reported.

In the Medical Centre No. 58 for convicted prisoners, suffering from tuberculosis, the fluorography apparatus has not been working for more than two years, and a number of posts – namely, head doctor, chest specialist, and doctor for infectious diseases – remain vacant.

The prisoners are housed in quite unsuitable conditions for those suffering from tuberculosis. In winter it is cold in the buildings, the punishment cells and those with a stricter regime lack normal living conditions, there are no toilets or basins, the toilets are outside and this is in the north of Sverdlovsk region where the temperature in winter can be minus 30-40 degrees.

During their inspection the members of the Commission received a barrage of complaints from the prisoners relating to the lack of medicine, including that for accompanying illnesses that can be diagnosed without medical investigation.

Those infected with AIDS were not receiving medicine critical to prolonging their lives, samples were only being taken and tested irregularly, and patients were obliged to turn to their relatives for help with medicine.

The observers received many complaints of ‘torture by cold’ when, according to the prisoners, prison officials, in response to complaints from the prisoners and their turning to the Commission, remove window frames, subjecting prisoners for long periods in the winter to these conditions.

The chief causes of death in Medical Centre No. 58 are related to chronic TB in its final stages, lung and heart failure, dropsy, generalized oedema, chronic hepatitis C, cachexia, dystrophia and AIDS.

Since the statement by the members of the Commission to the Regional Prison Service and to the prosecutor’s office brought no results, they have decided to urge the public to address appeals to the Russian Prosecutor General to close down the prison colony.

The collection of signatures will continue until the public observers consider the situation has improved.

Translated by Mary McAuley