Person of the Week: Ildar Dadin

posted 7 Nov 2016, 03:44 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 7 Nov 2016, 03:46 ]
On 1 November 2016 the news website Meduza published a letter by jailed opposition activist Ildar Dadin in which he alleged that he had been subjected to torture and threats to life in prison. Ildar Dadin begins his letter, addressed to his wife Anastasia Zotova, by urging her to publish the text, which his lawyer had written down during a meeting in prison: 'Nastya! If you decide to publish this information about what is happening to me, then try to distribute it as widely as possible. This will increase my chances of staying alive. Know that there is an entire mafia operating at penal colony 7. It involves the entire administration, among them the colony’s head Major Sergey Leonidovich Kossiev and the vast majority of its employees, including the doctors.'

In a statement the same day, Amnesty International called on the Russian authorities to 'immediately and unconditionally release Ildar Dadin, a peaceful street protester convicted for participation in “unauthorized” assemblies, and investigate his allegations of torture.'

As Tom Balmforth, writing for RFE/RL, points out: 'Ildar Dadin was sentenced to a three-year term in December 2015, becoming the first Russian to be imprisoned under controversial legislation that criminalizes repeated breaches of public-assembly rules, such as demonstrating in a group without the prior consent of the authorities. He is now serving his sentence at the IK-7 prison in Segezha, in the northwestern Karelia region.' Balmforth also notes, citing Novaya gazeta, that the Federal Penitentiary Service had confirmed that 'physical force' had been used against Dadin on 11 September 2016. According to the penitentiary service: 'Dadin in a rude way refused to come out of his cell and assume the position for a search, and began to grab [prison] employees by their uniforms, as a result of which physical force and special means were used," the newspaper quoted the prison service as saying.' RFE/RL reported on 2 November 2016 that the Federal Penitentiary Service said doctors found no traces of trauma or assault on Ildar Dadin.

However, as The Moscow Times reported, on 3 November the head of Penal Colony No. 7 in the Republic of Karelia where Dadin is being held, ergei Kossiev, was temporarily suspended due to his possible involvement in the beating of Ildar Dadin. The same day, RFE/RL reported that Council of Europe Secretary-General Thorbjorn Jagland told Justice Minister Aleksandr Konovalov in a phone conversation of his concern about the case of Ildar Dadin. 
'“10—12 people would beat me all at once, kicking me” In a letter to his wife, Russian political prisoner says he’s being tortured,' Meduza, 1 November 2016
'Russia: Shocking new torture allegations by prisoner of conscience must be investigated,' Amnesty International, 1 November 2016
Tom Balmforth, 'Jailed Russian Activist Alleges Torture, Threats In Prison Letter,' RFE/RL, 1 November 2016
'Russian Prison Service Says No Trauma On Activist's Body; Activists Express Doubts,' RFE/RL, 2 November 2016
'Head of Russian Penal Colony Suspended After Dissident's Torture Allegations,' The Moscow Times, 3 November 2016