A SYSTEM IN A SYSTEM: THEY ARE THREE STEPS AHEAD

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After receiving numerous complaints from convicts and their relatives about the facts of the violation of the convicts’ rights in penal colony№46 of Nevyansk town of Sverdlovsk Region, with physical and psychological methods of influence being applied to them, our human rights defending group comprised of Roman Kachanov, Aleksey Sokolov, Svetlana Malyugina and I yet again went to penal colony№46 to render legal assistance to the convicts.
In the beginning, the colony’s staff didn’t want to register our claim, but when they saw our disagreement with this fact of desk procedure abuse, they finally didn’t venture on objecting. Though, they said they needed to ask the Head for the permission.
The Head of the colony thought for a long time what to do with us. His behavior and his perplexed face made it clear that he was eager to refuse us, but he didn’t know how to do it correctly…
He checked both the Statute and our documents, he apparently wanted to reveal that one didn’t correspond to the other. But he couldn’t. He signed the claim, after which the amiable girls from Human Resources Department gave us the pass. They even sighed with a relief, for finally we could meet the convicts and help them defend their rights and legal interests.
Then we went to the checkpoint, called the man on duty and we were told to wait.
So we started WAITING… Because we were used to believing in the rule of order and law. It was getting cold, I called the man on duty several times, and all the time I was answered that still there was no escort person. We were even offered to wait in the headquarters on the 2nd floor. What kind of headquarters – we never understood that: an empty corridor, there was no waiting room for relatives and visiting people, it was not even supposed to be there, poor things, how hard it is to wait for them in such conditions… However, what can they wait for? According to our data, meetings with relatives in this correctional institution are not easy to get, especially if the relatives or the “tenants” of the colony don´t have money. Such is the situation, as they say, based on the “business practice”. For information: the norms of the Penal Code of the Russian Federation hardly function here!
And we were still waiting, it was very cold and we longed for a cup of hot water…
There were various staff who came to the colony, we addressed each one, but there was no result. I even addressed a commission from our “dear” General Directorate of the Federal Service for Execution of Punishment, they promised to help us. By the way, I found out again that our pass had its effect only until 16:45, it is very important to pay attention to this. We got very sad because the time was getting closer to the “sinister” point. As it turned out, our concerns proved to be reasoned. We were let in right at 16:30. There turned to be both an escort person and a spare room… there was also a supervisor, as he introduced himself, he was a Deputy Head of the General Directorate of the Federal Service for Execution of Punishment for Psychological Service, who was surprised in a quite verisimilar way that there was another case of arbitrariness from the part of the penal colony’s staff who are in charge of organizing meetings with convicts for rendering them legal assistance. The supervisor from the Directorate also expressed his indignation that the human rights defenders had had to wait for so long. The escort person, by the way, tried to tell him that no one applied to be let in in the colony, to which the prison authorities’ representative remarked in a harsh tone – what are you talking about, when entering the colony, I saw myself this human rights defender waiting to be let in. He even assured me that the pass would be prolonged.
So, I thought, finally the justice has finally been served… I sat and waited, and got a bit warmer…
Right 15 minutes later, the same officer came and said that the time indicated in the pass was up and asked us to leave the correctional institution! How typical of them…, a typical method, as one well-known movie character Ostap Bender said – they are three steps ahead!!!
By the way, on that day there was another young woman who was trying to get a meeting, she was a court-ruled defender, the colony Head refused her, instead, she was offered a short meeting and also given out a pass… She also waited… But she never got a meeting…
Larisa Zakharova.

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