Call for urgent measures to protect health, life and dignity of prisoner of conscience Ildar Dadin

2.11.2016 (Paris-Geneva) Joint press-release by FIDH, its member organisation Anti-Discrimination Centre Memorial and World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT)

Ildar Ildusovich Dadin, civic activist whom Amnesty International declared as prisoner of conscience, was transferred to the Penal Colony No. 7 in Segezha, Republic of Karelia, in September 2016. As Ildar Dadin reported through his attorney on 31 October 2016, since the transfer he is systematically being subjected to torture, degrading treatment, and threats of murder and rape. Due to the total information blockade and imposed censorship on his letters and requests for help, Ildar Dadin was prevented from reporting the facts of torture and ill-treatment in the colony. He was threatened with physical reprisals and “sudden” death in the colony, if he complains. By publishing a letter directly accusing the warden of Penal Colony 7 S.L. Kossiyev of abusing him and other prisoners in the colony, Ildar Dadin has exposed himself to a real threat to his life. He is currently in Petrozavodsk hospital for medical check. It has been reported that journalists are banned from entering the village where the Ildar Dadin is serving his term.

Intervention of the Human Rights Ombudsman of Russia and the outcry of a number of media outlets and non-governmental organisations prompted a preliminary investigation of facts of torture and ill-treatment reported by Ildar Dadin. Nevertheless, utmost concern for his life and safety prevails, and in the meantime the deputy director of the Federal Penitentiary Service Valery Maksimenko has already stated that “As of today, not one bodily injury has been found on I. Dadin. He even confirmed this himself on a video recording. The medical workers’ findings have been officially registered.”

Inmates’ lives being in the hands of prison guards and prison officials, there are grounds for concern that prisoners hesitate to complain on camera about prison administration. In his letter Ildar Dadin warned: “All the video recordings…were staged: before filming, I was told how to act and what to do – not to argue or object and to look down to the floor. Otherwise they said they would kill me and no one would ever find out.” Under these circumstances, neither checks by the Federal Penitentiary Service nor registration “for the record” of the absence of “bodily injuries” and complaints have any credibility whatsoever.

Sentenced to three years in 2015 for merely expressing his opinion on relevant political issues, Ildar Dadin must be immediately released and rehabilitated.

An independent investigation of allegations of crimes against inmates of the Penal Colony No. 7 in Segezha must be conducted with the participation of human rights defenders, experts, and psychologists and those responsible should be prosecuted.