Human rights defenders of the Urals protect convicts of Belgorod and Lipetsk regions

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Recently I’ve come back from Belgorod region where I had had two preliminary courts in sessions upon denial of access for me to penal colonies № 5 and № 7. I was supposed to have meetings with my clients. One of them was beaten and tortured, another one, who is stiff-limbed, was thrown into snow by officers.

Federal Service for Execution for punishment in Belgorod region refers this denial of access to me not having legal education. But I do have it and I showed my diploma them as early as in 2010 when I was there for the first time. After that nobody asked me to show it over again. Besides why would I do it if there are no such rules in Law. There is no instruction for denial of access on the ground of absence of diploma there.

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Also, Federal Service for Execution of punishment itself considers that possession of power of attorneys for convicts doesn’t authorize me to meet with clients in order to provide legal assistance.

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Eventually, one judge in Valyisky court asked me to bring diploma but judge in Belgorod didn’t even remember about it.

I have gone down to penal colony № 6 in order to meet with one convict. Earlier I had visited this colony many times. There officers checked my papers, lawyer told me that I have a right to provide legal help upon Statute but they have to coordinate it with administration. Later on I was said that once I bring diploma, doors of colony are always open up for me.

But now I am not ready to show my Graduate Diploma in Law of Humanities University of Yekaterinburg on principle.

I am ready even to lose this case but I want somehow to find out why I need to have diploma there?

As for Elec everything seems the same way, in local colony -the same intrigues among hierarchy of prisoners. There to write complaints is banned as well as to call for help human rights defenders. They say it’s like a store where you can sell and buy anything you want to. Federal Service for Execution of punishment in Lipetsk region doesn’t care much and Chief says his Public Monitoring Committee cannot find any violations. Like they say: no comments.

On a trip I’ve met with one of the ex-convicts, whom we used to act for, also I used to be his attorney in court. He told me interesting story how our famous «human rights defender» Igor Stepanovich had offered him to work with him and thrown mud at me and my colleagues saying how bad we are. This «human rights defender» also asked to stop writing complaints.

But our client responded that he wouldn’t ever refuse me and my colleagues. My former client met me and walked me out, thank him. As for me I was happy for ones I helped out for free. Two years ago one of my clients was released from prison, he feels fine so far. Now we are good friends and it’s so cool when people get on feet and settle down in life.

I feel good, but on the other hand I am worried. There are lots of convicts who need help.

The most important is our mission which is respect for law.

Larisa Zakharova, member of Coordinators Council «Trans regional center of human rights»,

Fund Expert «For convicts’ rights defense», member of Public Monitoring Committee of Sverdlovsk region.

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