On April 10 Nikolai Kavkazsky participated in a round table on tortures in the Russian prisons.
According to Kavkazsky, tortures are widespread in Russia. The former political prisoner, who was charged with the Bolotnaya Square rally case, spoke about the prison conditions from his own experience and the cases he dealt with as a lawyer at the Committee For Civil Rights.
Here are the theses of his speech.
1. Tortures and humiliation of human dignity were used against us. The right for 8 hours of sleep was violated as court hearings took place 3-4 times a week and the defendants were brought to the pre-trail detention centre by the night time. The accused had to get undressed and squat at the Moscow City Court.
2. The police cars are often overcrowded. Illumination and ventilation either don’t work or are lacking. In summer it’s very hot inside. Smokers and non-smokers seat together. There were cases when sick people, for example with the open form of tuberculosis, were carried with the healthy ones in the police car. The defendants have to spend several hours in such conditions. And they can’t use the toilet.
3. The conditions in the Moscow City Court are no better. The cells are a meter and a half long with bad illumination. Two people are kept there for several hours.
4. The defendants were beaten by the guards more than once.
5. If the defendants of well-known cases are beaten, the other prisoners face even force conditions. As a lawyer at the Committee For Civil Rights I received lots of complains about tortures. Here are some of the examples of the 2013-2014 period:
1) The Saratov region – the prisoner is beaten by a defense department worker at the correctional custody facility
2) The Kaluga region – the Federal Service for Execution of Punishment worker broke the arm of the detained, the fracture still doesn’t knit
3) Moscow – the detained man was beaten though he didn’t resist (there’re medical decomunts which prove the beatings)
4) The Kirov region – the systemic beating of prisoners, incitement to suicide, sexual violence on behalf of law enforcement officers. The doctor checked whether the prisoner was alive by setting his hand on fire with a lighter
5) The Krasnoyarsk region – operations staff hit the detained on the chest
6) Bolotnaya Square rally case prisoner Leonid Razvozhayev went through physiological violence, threats and was kept in a basement of an unknown house
7) The Arkhangelsk region – a prisoner went through physiological pressure so that he wouldn’t complain. He was also placed in the punitive confinement for no reason.
8) The Ulyanovsk region – the wife of the prisoner was taken to the Municipal Department of the Interior where she was kept for three days, beaten and humiliate, her son was taken away
9) The Tumen region – the detained was kept in a police car, beaten and forced to give evidence
10) The Arkhangelsk region – the prisoner was beaten by police officers in civilian clothes, after that he was unable to stand up for three days
11) The Perm region – the police officers beat the suspected man so that he wouldn’t give evidence
12) The Smolensk region – the police beat and tortured the suspected man with current for 6 hours to force him to give evidence though he didn’t deny his guilt
13) Moscow – the police officers systematically beat the suspected
I wrote complaints about these appeals to different governmental bodies. The answers were either runarounds or nothing.
Nikolai Kavkazsky proposed to broaden the rights of public observation commissions and give them the right to make inspections in prisons and colonies.