Torture room number 2018. How Russian security forces exceed plan for torture
A prisoner in Yaroslavl IK-1, Yevgeny Makarov, without knowing it, became the face of victims of the Federal Penitentiary Service (FSIN) system. It was he who was crucified on the table in the classroom for educational work, and the dashcam of one of the workers of the colony filmed everything that happened. They tortured in the colony, of course, not only Makarov. Such practices are common throughout Russia; in 2018, the number of reports of torture has increased many times.
On July 20, Novaya Gazeta published a video provided by lawyers of the Public Verdict Human Rights Foundation. This tough, naturalistic survey was a ten-minute record of torture, which 18 employees of Yaroslavl IK-1 carried out in relation to a prisoner crucified on the table in a classroom for educational work. It was “educational work”, which a year before these events, June 29, 2017, prisoner Yevgeny Makarov was subjected to. The worst thing is that the jailers shot the torture, because they had to report to the authorities.
Video: (18+) Testimony. Employees of IK-1 in the Yaroslavl region torture a prisoner
“During the strikes of one of the employees – Drachev S.P. – A portable video recorder was attached to the chest. It was turned on, because Nikolaev D.A. instructed to conduct "educational work" and record it to check the implementation of his instructions. <...> Next, the video from the dashcam, which recorded the use of violence against Makarov E.A., was copied to a USB flash drive by me. I took this flash drive with a video to Mikhailov I.V.'s office, where I handed it to him, and in the same place Nikolaev D.A watched this video. I also know that later this video was given to the first deputy head of the Federal Penitentiary Service in the Yaroslavl region Barinov G.A., who also watched it. This is known, since at that moment, when I was with this record in Mikhailov’s office on June 29, 2017, Barinov G.A. just called the cell phone of the head of IK-1 Nikolaev D.A and talked to him about this fact,” Novaya Gazeta quotes the testimony of one of the detainees.
Twelve of the eighteen jailers who were present during the torture are now under arrest. Meanwhile, six defendants of the torture video are still at large, without any procedural status at all. As, by the way, the colony authorities and people from the leadership of the regional Federal Penitentiary Service, who, as follows from the materials of the criminal case, ordered “educational work” against the eternal complainant Makarov, as well as video confirmation of the fact of this “work.”
On October 2, prisoner Yevgeny Makarov was released. The torture case continues to be investigated. This summer, after the video was published, the ICR opened six criminal cases on the fact of beating prisoners in the Yaroslavl colony. In addition to Makarov, four more people were recognized as victims.
Geography of torture
The story of Makarov caused a great resonance. It soon became known that what happened in the Yaroslavl colony is far from an isolated case, but a common thing in Russia. News about the beatings of prisoners began to come from the Bryansk region, Zabaykalsky region, and the Omsk region. Thus, a convict died in correctional colony No. 6 in the Bryansk Region. In the UK, they found out that he was strangled, allegedly by the deputy assistant officer of the head of the colony.
“An employee of IK-6 Federal Penitentiary Service in the Bryansk region, using violence and special means, restricting the movement of the convict, bandaged his face with a cloth, as a result of which the latter died from asphyxiation,” the investigators said.
Investigators filed a case of abuse of power with the use of violence and detained a suspect.
Prisoners of correctional colony number 5 in the Zabaykalsky region told how the guards beat them after the defeat of the Russian team in a match with Croatia at the World Cup. Prisoner Alexander Nokhrin said that he was beaten up in the library, where he was taken for examination. According to the prisoner, the staff of the colony also used a stun gun. “All of them were intoxicated, or rather, they smelled of fume. All of them were upset by the fact that the Russian football team had lost to Croatia the day before and, apparently, that is why they decided to put their frustration on me,” the report of Nokhrin said.
The prisoner claims that at least five Federal Penitentiary Service officers participated in the bullying. In addition to Nokhrin, he said several other people were beaten in the colony. No initiation of proceedings against the jailers was reported.
Torture continues in the Kaliningrad region. The major of Kaliningrad IK-9 broke the prisoner 10 ribs. According to the investigation, on January 30, 2018, Davron Khakimov, “acting deliberately together with unidentified persons” from among the staff of the correctional colony, beat the prisoner. It follows from the decision on initiation of a criminal case that doctors fixed 10 ribs on both sides of the prisoner and pneumothorax - accumulation of air or gases in the pleural cavity. Concerning the deputy head of the security department of Kaliningrad IK-9 Davron Khakimov, a case was initiated about abuse of authority with the use of violence (part 3 of article 286 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation). Investigators establish whether there were other cases of beating prisoners in IK-9.
Following the scandal in the Yaroslavl colony, monstrous details of torturing prisoners surfaced in the Vladimir region. In jail-1, they revealed a real torture chamber where prisoners were placed in order to beat out the necessary testimony, force them to stipulate and for prevention for violations of the regime and disobedience. It turned out that in February 2017, life-sentenced prisoner Dzhafar Mirzoev was placed in a torture chamber with detainees who had collaborated with the prison administration. Mirzoev was tied up and beaten and tortured throughout the day. When the next day Mirzoev was unleashed, he killed his opponent, several times sticking a pen and a pencil into his head with which he had to sign some confessions. And then he cut him with a razor that was hidden in its mouth. In the end, he strangled the "authority" with a sheet, with which he himself had been tied before.
In order to hide the true motives of the murder from the public, the FPS officers tried to present everything as a domestic conflict between cellmates. Meanwhile, the Vladimir prosecutor's office during the judicial investigation of the Mirzoev case established that the main reason for the commission of the crime was “deliberate, systematic violations of the law by officials of the FPS of Russia for the Vladimir region”. Then it was possible to learn about the existence of the torture chamber in the Vladimir jail-1. It turned out that all the torture took place at the direction of the management of the institution. At the trial of Mirzoev, the deputy prosecutor of the region, Anatoly Drak, who said that a large number of complaints from prisoners of jail-1 were being sent to the prosecutor's office. The prisoners, according to him, complain of torture and harassment by the staff of the administration. There, at the trial, more than 20 witnesses were questioned, who confirmed the words of the prosecutor.
On July 30, 2018, criminal proceedings were initiated against six employees of the detention facility and two prisoners under art. 286 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (Abuse of Power) and paragraph “a” of part 2 of Art. 132 of the Criminal Code (Sexual assault committed by a group of persons).
Seven inmates of correctional colony No. 1 in Yakutsk in early December sewed their mouths in protest against poor conditions. This was reported by the chairman of the local Public Observation Commission Marina Semyonova.
The chairman of the PMC notes that in Yakutsk now the temperature can drop to - 50 degrees, while the convicts do not have winter clothes. The staff of the colony explains this with lack of outfits. In addition, in the cells of the jail it is very cold and there is no hot water, as well as no mattresses, which is why prisoners sleep on the cold floor.
Prisoners in the punitive confinement also told observers about the beatings by the officers. The convicts threatened with a massive dissection of the veins if the situation did not change.
In Yaroslavl IK-3 in Uglich, prisoners were also regularly beaten. 25 convicts were injured. One of them, Alexander Kochergin, was beaten on October 24, demanding to give the phone. According to the foundation, the man was stripped and forced to squat 50 times and then beaten. At the same time, the prisoner shouted that he had HIV and other serious illnesses. Then Kochergin was put in an unheated room.
IK-3 in Uglich
The second victim, Nurali Nurov, has been tortured since 2016. After arriving at the colony, he was beaten for refusing to sign documents without being translated into his native language. When Nurov later tried to tell the prosecutor's office about the torture, the colony officers threatened to plant drugs on him and extend his sentence.
The fund also said that another victim refused to write a statement about the initiation of a criminal case against the convict, who complained to the prosecutor's office about torture.
“Everything happened under the pressure of the colony's operatives and threats of physical violence. The prisoner told the foundation’s lawyer that he knew several prisoners who had been forced to write statements to cellmates because of complaints of torture,” the Public Verdict Foundation said.
A prisoner of colony number 26 in the Volgograd region, Aslambek Abubakarov, complained to lawyer Magomed Archakov about torture by FPS officers. According to Abubakarov, he was mocked at the command of the head of the colony.
“I was hit on the head, the whole body, on the heels, I was beaten with a current, after which my pants were forcibly removed from me and I was verbally threatened to be raped, they asked me where my family was, that they would get and finish off my family,” says Abubakarov in the letter.
The described events happened on November 13, 2018. Since November 8, the prisoner held a hunger strike because of the constant mockery of the prison staff, and on November 13, he was beaten first in IK-26 of the Volgograd Region, and then in jail-4.
Unfortunately, torture of prisoners is a commonplace phenomenon for Russia, which occurs daily in colonies and pre-trial detention centers. Most complaints of unlawful behavior of employees of the Federal Penitentiary Service come from the Belgorod, Vladimir, Kirov, Penza, Saratov, Omsk, Yaroslavl regions, the Krasnoyarsk region and the Republic of Mordovia.
In the statistics of the ECHR, the Russian Federation ranks first in the number of complaints of torture. For 20 years, the European Court of Human Rights awarded €1.95 billion in complaints against Russia. Most often, the court recognized that Russia violated the complainant’s right to a fair trial (mentioned in 1093 rulings), the article of the convention on the prohibition of torture and inhuman treatment (994 rulings) and the right to liberty and personal immunity (932 rulings).
In 2018 alone, 21 law enforcement officers were convicted in criminal cases of torture, in which the interests of the victims were represented by lawyers collaborating with the human rights organization Zona Prava (Law Zone). For 2018, the clients of lawyers from Zona Prava sued 76,000 euros and more than 5 million rubles ($75,000) to the ECHR and the national courts as compensation for torture or torture conditions. A total of 59 cases of torture or death of people in the institutions of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Federal Penitentiary Service are in the production of lawyers of the Zona Prava in Russia, and another 75 such cases are pending to be studied by the ECHR.