Food is taken away from prisoners in Russia

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We got information from penal colony (Sos’va) of Sverdlovsk region that on 4 June, 2012 all food was taken away from new prisoner and it was not simple stuff like soups or cereal. We were surprised and thought either it is a joke of prisoner or authorities are «starved» so much.

We came over and again were surprised: first of all by Head of colony trying to prove that officer took all food didn’t break the rule. But the most interesting that prisoner has controversial opinion. A entry service officer Matronin picked up food and didn’t make any papers. Definitely prisoner started to complain and hoped to get everything back. He was waiting till 30 June, 2012 and thinking that his complaints were sent and as soon as possible authorities will figure it out. But on 30 June, 2012 mentioned above Matronin brought paper, according to it all food is subject to seizure. That paper was signed by Matronin. Nevertheless the prisoner didn’t get this document. That’s it.

4 September, 2012 Human Rights Activists visited penal colony-15 (Sos’va, Sverdlovsk region). Alexey Sokolov, Roman Kachanov and Svetlana Malyugina participated in that visit. We showed to the Head of colony all official papers contained reasons of our layers’ consultation and reference on law that gives rights on meeting with prisoners. To our surprise, the Head didn’t know lawful character of demands and refused to give chance to see prisoners confidentially. He just offered regular short meeting (like with relatives) with means of the phone. Meanwhile another problem appeared: there is only one room for this kind of meeting and relatives of prisoners wanted to see them also but they were told about human rights activists and relatives had to wait till defenders finish. We were in high dudgeon and refused from short meeting and asked the Head to give the right first to relatives to speak with prisoners. We informed about it Gubankov, the Head of Main Department of the Federal Penitentiary Service. After that we visited penal colone-18 where we didn’t find any barriers to meet with prisoners with help of the Head of colony Dmitriy Nikolayevich Laisha. He gave us room to speak with prisoners without restrictions. We talked to five prisoners. The first prisoner: no complaints, only consultation about criminal cases. The second: some improvements are made in colony concerned the conditions of confinement, complaints only about colony and internet shops, and also that it’s not allowed to get warm clothes, jam and salo. He was explained that it’s in accordance with the law and he cannot get this stuff. We made decision to sent request to the Main Department of the Federal Penitentiary Serviceabout jam and salo. The thirs prisoner was consulted about his case, no complaints. The fourth prisoner: claims about social help, which does not notify him about incoming pension and absence of opportunity to transfer money for his mother (since April, 2012). We discussed this claim with the Head of colony who promised to fix the problem. The fifth prisoner described the same situation that took place in previous colony, service officer took away food from him and only in one month he showed paper that prisoner got it illegally and food is subject to seizure. After we talked to the Head about officer’s wrongful act. He made a promise to take measures and control it.

Upon arrival to colony -15 again we were surprised by changes. We were welcomed to prison territory by the Head of colony who offered us to have a meeting in room for advocates. Prisoner A does not have any complaints, he asked to consult him how to move from strict condition of imprisonment to regular. We consulted and asked him to follow all rules, not to break them. In this case he will have an opportunity to change easier conditions or even to get parole. Prisoner B was consulted in his case, no complaints about living in colony. Prisoner C has claim about medical care (bad quality and they don’t do him a surgery, because he has varicose disease of both feet). Request to the Head of Medical Care and letter of attorney ( in order to get Prisoner’s C medical documents by lawyer Kachanov) were written. Besides C is anxious about rejection to move him on easier conditions as he does not have any lawbreaking during imprisonment. He wrote request but it’s gone. The head said if they get that request one more time they will discuss his complain. In general we are satisfied with work. Changes in admittance on colonies either happen by law or with help of assistance of the Head of Main Department of the Federal Penitentiary Service in Sverdlovsk region. Some difficulties and non-law actions of Heads of colonies are solved.

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