Person of the Week: Maria Berezina

posted 11 Jan 2016, 06:59 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 11 Jan 2016, 07:17 ]
Maria Berezina is a human rights activist who set up, in March 2015, a project named 'Russian Ebola' to monitor and publicize the high number of deaths in police custody, pre-trial detention, and in detention for offences under administrative law. In 2015, Russian Ebola reports on its website, 197 people died in custody.

Maria Berezina set up the project in March 2015, and its name derives from the title of an article by journalist Oleg Kashin on the issue of deaths in custody, written in February 2015. In a recent article for Global Voices, journalist Tetyana Lokot has highlighted the work of Maria Berezina and notes:

'The 2015 figures from Russian Ebola's annual report are nothing but numbers and facts, but they paint a chilling picture:
  • A total of 197 Russian citizens died in police stations, pre-trial detention centers, and other temporary detention facilities in 2015.
  • Among the dead, 183 were men and 14 were women.
  • 109 people died in police stations, 42 in temporary detention facilities, 31 in pretrial detention, ten more died in police vehicles. One each died in an investigative administration building, a drunk tank, a road police station, a local drug control office, and during an on-site investigative experiment.
  • The most popular cause of death in 2015, according to official reports, was a “sudden deterioration in health conditions” (104 people), usually described by “unknown circumstances” or “a stopping of the heart.” 62 people reportedly died of suicide, five—of epilepsy, three of tuberculosis, two from alcohol-induced delirium, one of poisoning. Ten more people died of trauma they reportedly received before arriving to the detention facility, five people died in a fire, one was reported to have been killed by fellow detainees. Four were reportedly killed by police officers.'
Source: Tetyana Lokot, ‘Russian Ebola': Civic Project Tracks Russians’ Deaths in Police Custody, Global Voices, 10 January 2016
Oleg Kashin, 'Русская Эбола,'  СвободнаяПресса, 18 February 2015

Photo: Facebook