Person of the Week

Person of the Week: Grigory Shvedov

posted 15 Jan 2017, 06:48 by Rights in Russia   [ updated ]

On 9 January 2017 the Caucasian Knot said it would take legal action after Chechen Parliament Speaker Magomed Daudov threatened the news outlet's editor-in-chief Grigory Shvedov [sometimes 'Gregory Shvedov' in English publications] on Instagram. As The Moscow Times reported: 'The speaker of Chechnya's parliament, Magomed Daudov, who also goes by the nickname “Lord,” published a picture on his Instagram account on Jan. 4 of a dog with its tongue tied into a knot. The pictured was accompanied by the text: “How to untie the Caucasian Knot?” In a comment alongside the photo, Daudov described the dog as “a mongrel nicknamed 'Swede,'” in an apparent reference to Grigory Shvedov who is the chief editor of the Caucasian Knot news agency. In Russian, “Shvedov” closely resembles the word for “Swedish.” “He puts out his long tongue, ties it into a dangerous 'Caucasian knot' and starts yapping,” the parliamentarian wrote. “It's time to call the vet with the large pliers,” he continued. “To pull a couple of 'wisdom' teeth from the Swede and shorten his tongue to a normal size”. Shvedov told the Kommersant business daily on Monday that the agency's lawyers were preparing to lodge a complaint with the Investigative Committee on charges of obstructing journalism.'

On 9 January 2017, Amnesty International issued an 'Urgent Action' notification, calling on its supporters to write to the relevant Russian officials: ' Urging the authorities to conduct a prompt, effective and impartial investigation into the threats made to Grigory Shvedov, which is a crime under Article 144 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (“obstruction of lawful professional activities of journalists”);  Urging them to condemn in the strongest manner the threats posted by Magomed Daudov and ensure that Grigory Shvedov is protected from any possible physical attacks;  Reminding the authorities that as a party to the European Convention on Human Rights the Russian authorities have an obligation to guarantee freedom of expression and protect journalists from threats and attacks.' 

On 9 January 2017, Front Line Defenders Front Line Defenders issued a statement expressing deep concern about the threats against human rights journalist Grigory Shvedov, which it believed to be 'related to his legitimate and peaceful human rights work.' Front Line Defenders urges the authorities of the Russian Federation to: '1. Carry out an immediate, thorough and impartial investigation into the threats against Gregory Shvedov, with a view to publishing the results and bringing those responsible to justice in accordance with international standards; 2. Take all necessary measures to guarantee the physical and psychological integrity and security of Gregory Shvedov; 3. Guarantee in all circumstances that all human rights defenders in Russia are able to carry out their legitimate human rights activities without fear of reprisals and free of all restrictions.'

On 10 January 2017 a 'Statement of Solidarity with Grigory Shvedov in Defence of Freedom of Expression in the Chechen Republicwas published by human rights defenders, civil society activists and journalists which expressed solidarity with Grigory Shvedov and, among other things, called on the law enforcement agencies to conduct an effective investigation into the threats and hold Magomed Daudov to account. 

On 12 January 2017, Human Rights Watch issued a statement on the serious threats made by Magomed Daudov against Grigory Shvedov, placing him at great risk. Human Rights Watch noted that Caucasian Knot's coverage of developments in the Caucasus includes extensive reporting on abuses by Chechen authorities, and that Daudov is widely known as the right-hand man of Ramzan Kadyrov, the head of the Chechen Republic. Human Rights Watch urged the Russian authorities to publicly condemn these threats, ensure no harm comes to Shvedov, and put an end to threats against and attacks on independent media in Chechnya.

Photo: Human Rights Watch via RFE/RL [© 2016 RFE/RL]

Sources:
'"Shorten His Tongue, Pull Out His Teeth," Says Chechen Official In Apparent Threat to Journalist,' The Moscow Times, 9 January 2017
'RUSSIAN FEDERATION: JOURNALIST THREATENED BY CHECHEN OFFICIAL: GRIGORY SHVEDOV,' Amnesty International, 9 January 2017
'THREATS AGAINST EDITOR-IN-CHIEF OF THE CAUCASIAN KNOT, GREGORY SHVEDOV.' Front Line Defenders, 9 January 2017
'Statement of Solidarity with Grigory Shvedov in Defence of Freedom of Expression in the Chechen Republic,' HRO.org in English, 10 January 2017
'Chechnya: Leading Politician Threatens Editor. Authorities Target Independent Media Outlet,' Human Rights Watch, 12 January 2017

Person of the Week: Ildar Dadin

posted 9 Jan 2017, 03:48 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 9 Jan 2017, 03:49 ]

On 2/1 Lev Ponomarev, director of the NGO For Human Rights, and Aleksei Venediktov, editor-in-chief of Ekho Moskvy radio station, sent a letter to the Federal Penitentiary Service demanding the authorities reveal Ildar Dadin’s location. As The Moscow Times reported, 'opposition activist, Ildar Dadin, has been incommunicado for over a month while being transferred to another prison, and activists say his relatives “fear for his life and health”.' In addition to Ponomarev and Venediktov, St. Petersburg legislator Boris Vishnevsky also demanded information from the Federal Penitentiary Service. 'In his letter, Ponomarev emphasized that Dadin’s relatives fear for his safety because he had revealed torture in prison,' The Moscow Times wrote, 'Officials might try to punish him for speaking out, they worry.' The hashtag #ГдеИльдарДадин (#WhereIsIldarDadin) has featured widely on social media in Russia. On 4/1 RFE/RL reported on the latest in a series of protests over the treatment of Ildar Dadin. When a group of six people attempted to protest outside the offices of the Public Prosecutor in Moscow, calling for the disclosure of Dadin's whereabouts, they were detained by police and held in custody for four hours. 'Prominent opposition politician Aleksei Navalny tweeted two photos of a woman whom he described as a lone protester,' RFE/RL reported, 'One photo depicts the woman holding a placard reading "Where is Ildar Dadin?" and another condemning "torture in Russian concentration camps." The second photo shows the woman being escorted away by two policemen.' Last month, Russian human rights campaigners draped a banner calling for Dadin's release from a St. Petersburg bridge.

Ildar Dadin is the first person to be convicted under the draconian Article 212.1 of the Russian Criminal Code that criminalizes repeat violations of the law regulating public assembly. In December 2015 Ildar Dadin was sentenced to 2.5 years in prison. 

Sources:
'Russian Rights Activists Demand Information on Imprisoned Dissident's Whereabouts,' The Moscow Times, 3 January 2017
'Russian Police Briefly Detain Six Supporters Of Jailed Activist,' RFE/RL, 4 January 2017

Person of the Week: Zhalaudi Geriev

posted 3 Jan 2017, 03:42 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 3 Jan 2017, 03:47 ]

On 28 December 2016 the Supreme Court of the Chechen Republic upheld the conviction of Caucasian Knot journalist Zhalaudi Geriev. As Caucasian Knot reported, on 5 September at a trial at Shali district court in Chechnya, Geriev was sentenced to three years in a prison colony on charges of possessing marijuana. At the trial, Geriev had rejected the prosecution's charges and stated that he had testified under pressure. Responding to the verdict, Tanya Lokshina, Russia program director at Human Rights Watch, stated 'We have no doubt that Geriev is being punished for his work as a journalist and hope that justice will prevail on appeal.' On 26 December 2016, the Investigative Committee had announced that the information about the kidnapping and use of violence against Zhalaudi Geriev had not been 'confirmed'. 

On 6 September 2016 Human Rights Watch stated in a report on the case: 'Chechen police detained Geriev, 23, on the morning of April 16. The journalist told the court that three armed men dragged him out of a shuttle bus en route from the town of Kurchaloi to Grozny, Chechnya’s capital, from which he intended to travel on to Moscow for work-related purposes. The assailants entered the shuttle bus, hit him on his head, and dragged him into their car, a black Priora sedan, he said. They took away his two phones and his backpack with his identification documents, a laptop, and other personal belongings, tied his hands with wire, and drove him to a forest 35 kilometers from Grozny, in the Kurchaloi district of Chechnya. Geriev’s kidnappers questioned him in the forest for another 30 to 40 minutes, asking him about his work, threatening him, and insinuating he was “on the run” to join ISIS. Then, another man arrived in a Priora vehicle, pulled a plastic bag tightly over Geriev’s head, took it off when Geriev was about to suffocate, and finally drove off, taking Geriev’s backpack with him. Then, Geriev’s kidnappers took him to a cemetery on the outskirts of the town of Kurchaloi. They had him officially “detained” there and taken into police custody supposedly with a large package of marijuana in his backpack, forcing him to sign a confession stating the drugs in his backpack belonged to him. Geriev withdrew his confession during his trial in the Shali District Court of Chechnya, alleging that it was false and made under duress. The court failed to consider his allegations. Following a trial in which little if any evidence beyond his retracted confession was introduced, the court found Geriev guilty of “possession of banned substances in large quantities”.' 

Photo: Zhalaudi Geriev, Moscow 2014. © 2014 Magomed Tuaev for Caucasian Knot, via Human Rights Watch

Sources:
'Court examines investigators' refusal to open case on Geriev's kidnapping,' Caucasian Knot, 26 December 2016
'Chechnya's Supreme Court upholds verdict on Geriev,' Caucasian Knot, 28 December 2016
'Legal Case of the Week: Zhalaudi Geriev,' Rights in Russia, 12 September 2016
Source: 'Russia: Journalist Punished for Chechnya Reporting. Sweeping Pre-Election Crackdown,' Human Rights Watch, 6 September, 2016

Person of the Week: Andrei Bubeev

posted 28 Dec 2016, 03:07 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 28 Dec 2016, 03:07 ]

On 23 December 2016, Andrei Bubeev [also transliterated as Bubeyev], a blogger serving a 2.5 year sentence for social network reposts, was to be moved to a prison with harsher conditions. As Halya Coynash, writing in Human Rights in Ukraine, has reported, 'Andrei Bubeev, who was convicted for posting social network reposts of an article entitled "Crimea is Ukraine" and a picture of a toothpaste tube with the caption "Squeeze Russia out of yourself" is being moved to a prison with harsher conditions. The reasons appear to include "bad influence on other prisoners", with this based on him encouraging them to read. He is currently in a punishment cell and cannot receive or send any letters. His wife Anastasia does not even know for certain where they will be taking him after the court ruling from 12 December comes into force on 23 December.'

Halya Coynash comments: 'Andrei and his wife have two children. 11-year-old Polina and Ognear, who is just 4 years old, have not seen their father since his arrest on May 24, 2015. Both children find it desperately difficult not having their father there. Little Ognear understands only that Papa is a superhero who is being held prisoner for telling the truth. He’s right. Bubeev, a mechanical engineer from Tver, was charged over two pieces of material written or drawn by others which he had merely reposted on his VKontakte social network page.'

Source:
Halnya Coynash, 'Further reprisals against Russian blogger jailed for reposting that Crimea is Ukraine,' Human Rights in Ukraine, 23 December 2016

Person of the Week: Lilia Shibanova

posted 19 Dec 2016, 09:24 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 19 Dec 2016, 09:30 ]

On 14 December 2016 the European Platform for Democratic Elections (EPDE) reported that Lilia Shibanova was being prevented from leaving Russia. Lilia Shibanova is a founder of the independent Russian election monitoring network, Golos. Since 2013 she has been a resident of Lithuania, where she works as an election expert. As RFE/RL has reported, Lilia Shibanova, then chair of the Moscow-based independent election monitor Golos, left Russia in September 2013 after the Justice Ministry suspended, in June 2013, the group's activities as a result of its refusal to register as a 'foreign agent' NGO. In April 2013 courts had imposed large fines on both Golos and Lilia Shibanova under the 'foreign agent' law. RFE/RL reported that Lilia Shibanova said at that time that Golos was being targeted 'for uncovering widespread violations in elections.' Since 2015 Lilia Shibanova has been a board member of the EPDE. 

According to EPDE, when entering Russia in November 2016 she was a subject of a strict border control and her passport was invalidated. Lilia Shibanova has said her attempts to obtain a new international passport have failed so far. The EPDE has expressed 'serious concern' about the impediment on the right of Ms Shibanova to free travel and has also strongly condemned what it calls 'ungrounded accusations of alleged document falsification by Ms Shibanova' that have appeared in some Russian media.

In a statement the EPDE says: 'The EPDE calls upon the Russian authorities to clarify the situation around the travel documents of Ms Shibanova and to assist her in obtaining valid travel documents. We also call on the government in Russia to refute the slanderous media allegations of document falsification by Ms Shibanova.'

Source:
'EPDE BOARD MEMBER LILIA SHIBANOVA PREVENTED FROM LEAVING THE RUSSIAN FEDERATION,' EPDE, 14 December 2016
'Golos Leader Leaves Russia After Suspension Of Operations,' RFE/RL, 5 September 2013

Person of the Week: Oksana Sevastidi

posted 12 Dec 2016, 03:05 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 12 Dec 2016, 04:06 ]

Oksana Sevastidi, a 46-year-old shopkeeper from the Black Sea resort city of Sochi, is serving a seven-year prison sentence for high treason. As RFE/RL reports: 'Sevastidi was arrested by the Krasnodar branch of the FSB in January 2015. She spent 14 months in pretrial detention, during which time prosecutors questioned her only twice. Her own defense attorney never visited her.' RFE/RL notes that, while Sevastidi was convicted and sentenced in March 2016, her case only became widely known this month when desperate relatives contacted the Memorial human rights organization for help appealing the court's ruling, and Memorial engaged the human rights lawyer Ivan Pavlov, the leading member of the informal association of lawyers Team 29 based in St. Petersburg, to act in her defence. According to RFE/RL: 'Sevastidi was convicted of sending two SMS messages in the first half of 2008 that the Russian government argued contained secret information about military movements in the direction of the breakaway Georgian region of Abkhazia. Russia and Georgia fought a brief war over Abkhazia and a second Georgian region, South Ossetia, in August 2008, after which Moscow recognized both regions as independent. Sevastidi still cannot quite believe what happened at her trial, which was held in the basement of the local Federal Security Service (FSB) branch under tight secrecy.' 

In an interview with the website Meduza, published on December 5, Oksana Sevastidi said: "The prosecutor didn't let me say a word in my own defense. Everything was done in one day: the arguments, the concluding statements, and the sentence. It was all very fast and mixed up, like in a dream. And as if through a shroud, I heard the words 'seven years.'" [Translation by RFE/RL]

On 2 December 2016, Memorial Human Rights Centre published a letter they had received from Oksana Sevastidi in which she writes:

'When I heard the court’s decision I almost passed out. I’ve never done a single bad thing in my life. I’m from a very good family. It’s hard to believe what kind of a place I’m in now. Please help me, not only for myself, but you would be saving another life, my mother’s. Please help me sort out my case. My case is the same as Kharebava’s, I don’t have any aggravating circumstances, only extenuating ones, and so no one understands why they gave me this sentence, everyone who finds out what I’m in here for is horrified that this can happen here. Please help me. Save the life of another political prisoner.' [translation by Sarah Hurst]

Photo: RFE/RL

Sources:
'Advocates claim spy hysteria in Kuban,' Caucasian Knot, 7 December 2016
Lyubov Chizhova, Andrei Sharogradsky, Robert Coalson, 'Seven Years For An SMS: Activists Alarmed Over Southern Russia Treason Convictions,' RFE/RL, 6 December 2016
Catherine A. Fitzpatrick, 'Human Rights Lawyers Discover 5 Cases of Russian Women Imprisoned for State Treason Related to Georgia,' The Interpreter, 6 December 2016
'«Прокурор мне даже слова не дал сказать в свое оправдание» Интервью Оксаны Севастиди, которую посадили по обвинению в госизмене за смс восьмилетней давности,' Meduza, 5 December 2016
'Russian Woman Jailed For High Treason Wants To Appeal Sentence,' RFE/RL, 2 December 2016
'Жительницу Сочи приговорили к колонии за СМС о военной технике накануне войны с Грузией,' Memorial Human Rights Centre, 2 December 2016
'Sarah Hurst: Letter to Memorial from Oksana Sevastidi, convicted of treason [translation]', Rights in Russia, 2 December 2016

Person of the Week: Ildar Dadin

posted 4 Dec 2016, 10:45 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 4 Dec 2016, 22:59 ]

On 1 December 2016,’ Anastasia Zotova said that her husband, Ildar Dadin, had been placed in solitary confinement for six months. As RAPSI reported, Ildar Dadin, who has been sentenced to 2.5 years in prison for repeat violations of the current Russian law on assembly, has been punished for an alleged fight with his cellmate. However, Halya Coynash, writing on the website Human Rights in Ukraine, points out: 'Since recounting how he had been subjected to torture, Russian civic activist Ildar Dadin has been threatened with criminal proceedings, a ‘defamation’ suit and has been placed in solitary confinement for 6 months. The official ‘investigation’ supposedly found no confirmation of his allegations of torture, although numerous other former Karelia IK-7 [prison colony No. 7 - ed] prisoners and relatives of those serving sentences have reported similar treatment. There have been overt efforts to discredit Dadin in the Russian state-controlled media, and there are serious grounds for questioning the official version of the fight which Dadin supposedly had with a cellmate. There have been other cruel tactics as well, such as the rumour spread by Kremlin-funded trolls that Dadin had hanged herself. The young man’s mother needed to be hospitalized after reading that.' While on 24 November, members of the European Parliament expressed concern over the welfare of Dadin and called for an effective investigation into his allegations of torture, and for his immediate release, RFE/RL reported that on 28 November Federal Penitentiary Service (FSIN) officials said an investigation they had conducted at the request of human rights ombudsperson Tatyana Moskalkova had found no evidence to support claims by Ildar Dadin that he had been abused or tortured in prison. FSIN Deputy Director Valery Maksimenko told journalists in Moscow: "The investigation did not confirm the use of forbidden methods of influence on Dadin or the illegal use of physical force against the convict". According to RFE/RL, Maksimenko called Dadin "a very talented faker with great artistry and great imagination."

On 28 November, as Tom Balmforth writing on RFE/RL reported, a press conference was held at the Sakharov Centre, organized by Lev Ponomarev, director of the For Human Rights movement, at which former inmates and convicts' relatives alleged abuse by staff at the same prison colony (No. 7 in Segezha, Karelia) where Ildar Dadin is held. Opening the press conference, Lev Ponomarev said: ‘Today we will rebut the words of the deputy director of the FSIN.’ Tom Balmforth quotes Zhanata Gabzayeva, the mother of a 25-year-old Chechen serving time at the prison colony, as saying her son, Khasbulat, had been sent to the punishment cell for no reason and beaten until he lost consciousness, and had been targeted with other abuse: ‘They hang him by his legs, they beat his feet, dunk him in the toilet, pour cold water on him. Help, please. You cannot treat people like this just because they are behind bars. There are no laws there.’ Lev Ponomarev also read out the testimony of a former inmate at the prison who ‘was unwilling to attend the press conference out of fear of retribution’ who described the torture to which he had been subjected at the prison colony. Balmforth also reported that other relatives and four former inmates made similar allegations via Skype. Caucasian Knot reported that at the same press conference Kameta Saidullaeva said her husband, Anzor Mamaev who is from Chechnya, was beaten at the prison colony after his meeting with Ombudsperson Tatiana Moskalkova.

Sources:
‘Jailed opposition activist Dadin to spend 6 months in solitary confinement,’ RAPSI, 1 December 2016 
Halya Coynash, '6 Months Solitary Confinement & new charges for reporting torture in Russian prison,' Human Rights in Ukraine, 5 December 2016
‘Russian Prison Officials Reject Dadin's Abuse Claims,’ RFE/RL, 28 November 2016
Tom Balmforth, Ex-Inmates, Relatives Echo Russian Prison Torture Allegations Of Jailed Protester Dadin, RFE/RL, 28 November 2016
‘Wife of Chechen native confirms Dadin’s story about torture in IK-7,’ Caucasian Knot, 29 November 2016

Person of the Week: Denis Karagodin

posted 28 Nov 2016, 03:30 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 28 Nov 2016, 03:33 ]

On 19 November 2016 RFE/RL reported that Tomsk resident Denis Karagodin had managed to tracked down the names of the men who helped execute his great-grandfather in 1938 on charges of spying for the Japanese. As Tom Parfitt, writing in The Times reports, 'Mr Karagodin, a designer and philosophy graduate, has become famous nationwide with his campaign for the truth. This month, after thousands of hours of hunting in KGB archives, firing off written requests to truculent officials and fielding messages via his website, he finally identified the three people who shot his great-grandfather.'

As Kevin Rothrock writes in The Moscow Times, 'Denis Karagodin managed to convince initially reluctant security-services archivists to show him documents that helped him reconstruct the chain of events that led to his relative’s execution almost 80 years ago. Karagodin says he’s found the names of the people involved at every stage of his great-grandfather’s death, from the NKVD leadership in Moscow to the officers in Tomsk charged with enforcing the sentence, including even locals drivers and typists, and the actual gunmen who carried out the execution. The key document in the investigation was an execution order by the Tomsk NKVD office against 36 different people, including Karagodin’s great-grandfather. “The historians and specialists I was able to reach couldn’t believe that I’d managed to get this document,” he told Radio Liberty. “Some were simply in shock that such documents still exist and that you can actually get them. It’s possible that I might be the first person in Russia’s history to be given such documents.”

Rothrock notes that, 'According to Denis Karagodin’s website, his family never believed the charges against Stepan, and it spent decades trying to clear his name. Denis began his investigation in 2012, collecting information about NKVD employees at departmental and political archives. He says he also got help from the relatives of other people executed at the same time as his great-grandfather.'

Photo: RFE/RL

Sources:
Kevin Rothrock, ‘"Historians couldn't believe such documents still exist". Russian man tracks down the secret police who executed his great-grandfather 80 years ago,' The Moscow Times, 21 November 2016
Dmitry Volchek, '"Мне помогают расстрелянные",' RFE/RL, 19 November 2016
Tom Parfitt, 'Russian takes on KGB to uncover truth of great-grandfather’s death,' The Times, 26 November 2016
'Расследование в отношении судьбы КАРАГОДИНА Степана Ивановича,' website of Denis Karagodin
Carl Schreck and Dmitry Volchek, 'One Russian's Search For His Great-Grandfather's Soviet Police Killers,' RFE/RL, 23 June 2016 
Person of the Week: Denis Karagodin, Rights in Russia, 4 July 2016

Person of the Week: Aleksei Navalny

posted 21 Nov 2016, 05:03 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 21 Nov 2016, 05:07 ]

On 16 November 2016 the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation overturned a criminal conviction against opposition leader Aleksei Navalny and sent the case for a retrial to be heard in Kirov. As The New York Times reported, this development potentially opens the door for Aleksei Navalny to run for office once again. However, as observers noted the retrial would also serve to keep Aleksei Navalny away from the capital. The NYT quotes Navalny as telling Russian news agencies: 'I have absolutely no desire to start traveling to Kirov again. The ruling is aimed to hamper my political activities.' 

Aleksei Navalny was convicted in 2013, the NYT reports, 'of embezzling timber worth $500,000 at the time from a state-owned company in the provincial city of Kirov in a trial which was largely perceived as a vendetta against the rising political star.'

Aleksei Navalny was convicted in 2013 two months before elections were held in Moscow for the city's mayor. As the NYT reports, in the mayoral election 'Navalny won more than a quarter of the vote, a notably strong performance amid pro-Kremlin parties' overwhelming grip on Russian politics. But when a higher court upheld his conviction later that year, Navalny was disqualified from further runs for office.' After losing appeals against this conviction in Russian courts, Aleksei Navalny applied to the European Court of Human Rights. In February 2016, the European Court of Human Rights ruled Russia had violated Aleksei Navalny's right to a fair trial and ordered the government pay him legal costs and damages amounting to 56,000 euros.

In a trial one year later in a different case, in 2014, Aleksei Navalny together with his brother Oleg Navalny, were convicted of defrauding a French cosmetics company, Yves Rocher. While Aleksei Navalny was given a suspended sentence, Oleg Navalny was sentenced to 3½ years in prison. As the NYT notes, this second conviction was not classified as a serious crime, and is therefore one which does not disqualify Aleksei Navalny from running for office. 

Photo of Aleksei Navalny: Wikipedia

Source:
'Russian Opposition Leader Navalny's Case Sent for Retrial,' The New York Times [via Associated Press], 16 November 2016
'European Court Rules Russia Violated Navalny's Right To Fair Trial,' RFE/RL, 12 February 2016
'CASE OF NAVALNYY AND OFITSEROV v. RUSSIA,' European Court of Human Rights, 23 February 2016
'Alexei Navalny,' Wikipedia

Person of the Week: Ildar Dadin

posted 14 Nov 2016, 09:23 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 14 Nov 2016, 09:42 ]

On 9 November 2016 Anastasia Zotova, the wife of Ildar Dadin, was able to meet her husband in prison. Ildar Dadin is serving two and a half years in prison for violating draconian Russian legislation restricting right of assembly and freedom of expression that penalizes taking part in multiple unsanctioned protests. Meduza reports that “the meeting lasted four hours, and all that time Dadin told her what had happened him since the day of his arrival in prison colony No. 7 in as much detail as possible." On her Facebook page Zotova had written that Dadin ‘looked terrible’ and asked for prominent human rights defenders Pavel Chikov and Igor Kalyapin, both members of the Presidential Human Rights Council, to come to the prison where he is serving his term so that he could tell them what has happened. 

On 7 and 8 November, Pavel Chikov and Igor Kalyapin visited Ildar Dadin at the Karelian prison colony No. 7 (Chikov is head of Agora International Human Rights Association; Kalyapin is head of the Committee for the Prevention of Torture). Dadin described the torture and beatings to which he had been subjected in prison to the two visitors and said that he had not previously experienced fits resembling epileptic seizures, such as the one which occurred during his 2 November meeting with members of the Public Oversight Commission.

According to Pavel Chikov, Dadin’s arms bore marks from handcuffs. “Such marks can appear if a person’s hands are cuffed from behind, and he is then hung by the wrists. He said there were bruises and abrasions, but after two months they have gone away,” Chikov said.

Chikov and Kalyapin did not meet the head of prison colony No. 7. “Typically when such an emergency situation occurs, the head officials return from leave or holidays. But here the head of the colony, Sergei Kossiyev, was placed on leave after the scandal erupted,” Igor Kalyapin said.

RFE/RL reported that, according to Igor Kalyapin, Dadin refused to be transferred to a different facility out of concern for what would happen to other inmates (earlier Kalyapin had said Dadin should be moved to another penitentiary for his own safety). Igor Kalyapin was also reported as saying that despite promises made, the authorities refused to provide the visitors with documents concerning Dadin’s case and the ​punishments ​imposed on the political prisoner. ‘In particular, we were not given access to a report produced by the prison colony’s staff, or ​to written explanations submitted by Dadin,’ Kalyapin said.

Igor Kalyapin and Pavel Chikov said that there had been protests by eight other prisoners, who were immediately transferred to prison colony No. 1, a maximum security prison in the town of Naidvoitsy​, which is​ ​ in the Segezha district of Karelia.​ They were unable to meet the protesters.

On 9 November, three supporters of Ildar Dadin were detained by police in Moscow as they attempted to hold a protest outside the offices of the prosecutor general in Moscow, RFE/RL reported.
________________________________________________________

Sources:
Anastasia Zotova, Facebook
«Никого ты не спасешь» Рассказ Ильдара Дадина о том, что происходило с ним в ИК-7 — до и после его письма о пытках, Meduza, 11 November 2016
'Ildar Dadin: "They forced me to say, Putin is our president."' [Meduza], Rights in Russia, 11 November 2016
'Ildar Dadin's wife describes "total shock" at his condition in prison' [an interview with Anastasia Zotova by Gleb Yarovoi via 7X7], Rights in Russia, 9 November 2016
'Pavel Chikov and Igor Kalyapin visit Karelian prison colony No. 7 where Ildar Dadin is held,' HRO.org in English, 10 November 2016
'Political prisoner Ildar Dadin describes torture and beatings to members of Human Rights Council,' HRO.org in English, 8 November 2016
Agora International Human Rights Association website
Committee for the Prevention of Torture website
'Russian Rights Defender Says Dadin Must Be Moved To Different Prison,' RFE/RL, 8 November 2016
'Russian Rights Defender Says Dadin Refuses To Be Transferred To Different Prison,' RFE/RL, 9 November 2016
'Police Detain Supporters Of Jailed Russian Activist,' RFE/RL, 9 November 2016

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