Russia: Shocking new torture allegations by prisoner of conscience must be investigated
Russian authorities must immediately and unconditionally release Ildar Dadin, a peaceful street protester convicted for participation in “unauthorized” assemblies, and investigate his allegations of torture, Amnesty International said today. Ildar Dadin’s letter from prison was published by Meduza online newspaper on Tuesday.
“Ildar Dadin’s allegations of beatings, humiliation and rape threats are shocking, but unfortunately they are just the latest in a string of credible reports indicating that torture and other ill treatment are being widely used in the Russian penal system with impunity, with the aim of silencing any form of dissent,” said Sergei Nikitin, Director of Amnesty International Russia.
“We are urging Russian authorities to end the pattern of impunity for torture and other ill treatment and investigate Ildar Dadin’s appalling allegations. They must also immediately and unconditionally release Ildar Dadin, and provide him with full remedy for the injustice done to him. No one should be in jail for peacefully expressing their opinion.”
According to Ildar Dadin’s letter, when he arrived in Segezha prison colony on 11 September 2016 he was beaten four times by groups of 10 to 12 people in turn. The next day Ildar Dadin was hung up by handcuffs for half an hour, before his underpants were taken off and he was threatened with rape.
He writes in the letter that he was warned by a prison official: “You’ve been just lightly beaten. If I order it my officers will beat you much more severely. If you try to complain, you’ll be killed and buried outside the prison fence.” Ildar Dadin managed to dictate his letter during the last visit by his lawyer. His previous letters never reached their intended addresses as they were intercepted by the prison colony administration.
Ildar Dadin was sentenced to three years’ imprisonment by a Moscow court for repeated anti-government street protests on 7 December 2015. He is the first person to be jailed using a repressive law introduced in 2014 which punishes repeated breaches of public assembly rules.
A first violation of the law is punishable by a fine or up to 15 days’ administrative detention. Three such violations within 180 days result are prosecuted as a criminal offence punishable by up to five years’ imprisonment. Amnesty International considers Ildar Dadin a prisoner of conscience.
Ildar Dadin’s first “violation” of the Russian restrictive legislation on public assemblies was peacefully protesting, as a single picketer, against the conviction of peaceful activists from the Bolotnaya demonstration of 7 May 2012 in Moscow, for which he was detained. He has since been either fined or detained four times for similar “offences”.
He has been under house arrest since 30 January 2015, when his last 15-day administrative detention sentence expired, and was only allowed to leave home to attend court hearings. He was taken into custody on the day of his sentencing in December 2015.
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