Roscosmos Director moved to non-monitored cell prior murder

Roscosmos Director moved to non-monitored cell prior murder
Roscosmos Executive Director Vladimir Evdokimov Photo: Petr Kassin/Kommersant

Human rights activists are questioning why Vladimir Evdokimov, the Executive Director of Roscosmos, was not kept in traditional Lefortovo or Matrosskaya Tishina prisons like a high-profile suspect, but a month before the murder was transferred to a mass cell without video surveillance.

Former high-ranking manager of Roscosmos Vladimir Evdokimov, who was killed in prison №5, was transferred about a month ago from the special unit of the detention facility to an ordinary cell without CCTV monitoring. Vadim Gorshenin, the chairman of the Moscow Public Monitoring Commission in places of forced detention, and Ivan Melnikov, a member of the commission, told RBC about this. They claim that the surveillance system was installed first of all in the special unit, where Evdokimov had previously been kept. In ordinary cells cameras have not been installed yet. However, the murder took place in the toilet, where monitoring was impossible in any case.

Currently, the Prosecutor's Office is checking the conditions of detention in the prison, in particular the regime and security of those arrested, for compliance with the law.

The official version states that the body of arrested Evdokimov was found at around 4 am on March, 18 in the toilet room of the cell. Doctors identified knife wounds in the heart on his body. At the same time, traces of struggle and a suicide note were not found. Initially, the version of suicide was considered. However, according to his relatives who spoke with him on March 17, there was no depression or panic in Evdokimov's voice and words. He was sure of his innocence and favorable outcome. Later the Investigative Committee called the incident a murder and announced the beginning of interrogation of cellmates of Roscosmos executive officer.

According to human rights activists, for some reason Evdokimov was initially placed not in the Lefortovo or Matrosskaya Tishina detention centers, where high-profile prisoners are usually kept before the court, but in prison №5 called Vodnik. In the beginning he was in a cell for 6 people in the special unit, which contained elder prisoners. Then he was transferred to a general cell for 12 people. All of them were younger than Evdokimov, accused of non-violent crimes: mainly of illegal banking, swindling and drug trafficking.

According to the cellmates themselves, the Head of Roscosmos did not have conflicts with anyone. Early in the morning they found that the toilet was locked from the inside and could not shout to Evdokimov being inside. When the inmates saw that blood was leaking out from under the door, they called the administration of the prison. The latter called the doctors, who attested the death of Evdokimov.

In February the court, considering the motion to extend the term of Roscosmos head, refused to release him under house arrest on bail of 30 million rubles ($523 thousand). Human rights activists do not exclude that the murder was planned in advance. It was with this that caused the transfer of Evdokimov to the camera without video surveillance. The perpetrator of the murder was probably someone from the cellmates who performed the ‘order’. The motive could be the position of Roscosmos executive officer, and his murder was beneficial to those against whom Evdokimov could testify. He himself did not plead guilty, but expressed his willingness to cooperate with the investigation.

The investigation accused arrested executive director of Roscosmos on quality control and reliability Vladimir Evdokimov of a major swindling for 200 million rubles ($3.4m) within the crime group. He was arrested in Moscow in December last year.

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