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.

‘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