Marie Struthers [Amnesty International]: "The protection of Irina Biryukova and Yevgeny Makarov must be a priority for the Russian authorities"

posted 30 Jul 2018, 05:40 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 30 Jul 2018, 08:23 ]

“Irina Biryukova’s brave decision to expose the appalling abuse within IK-1 penal colony is the latest example of her dedication to protecting others from torture and other ill-treatment. It is alarming that her act of courage has forced her to flee the country in fear. The protection of Irina Biryukova and Yevgeny Makarov must be a priority for the Russian authorities. We are calling on them to promptly investigate in an independent and impartial manner the threats against Irina and the allegations of torture against Yevgeny, and commit to ending the culture of fear and impunity in the Russian penal system. The launch of the investigation into the allegations of torture is a welcome first step towards justice. However, in the absence of a national mechanism which systematically works to prevent torture, the criminal case against Makarov’s torturers will be an exception to the rule. We remain extremely concerned for the safety of Yevgeny Makarov and the thousands of others detained in Russian pre-trial detention centres, penal colonies and police stations where allegations of torture and other ill-treatment are rife and investigations are rare.”

                                             Marie Struthers, Amnesty International’s Director for Eastern Europe and Central Asia

On 23 July 2018 Amnesty International issued a statement in response to the decision by Irina Biryukova, a lawyer, to flee the country after releasing a video on 20 July showing her client Yevgeny Makarov being brutally beaten in a prison colony in Yaroslavl prison (IK-1) by 18 prison officers in June 2017. Amnesty urged the Russian authorities to act immediately to protect Biryukova and noted that, "According to Biryukova, her source inside the prison informed her that wardens were now plotting revenge against her, threatening her with physical harm." On23 July the Investigative Committee announced that six officers at the prison colony had been detained following the launch of a criminal investigation into the video.

Source: 'Russia: Lawyer covering torture case flees country after threats,' Amnesty International, 23 July 2018