Our congratulations go to political prisoner Ildar Dadin, who was released from penitentiary colony No.7 in Karelia on February 22 and his partner Anastasia Zotova, who had made enormous efforts for his liberation.Both of them had drawn attention to the tortures, which were taking place in this penitentiary colony.
Release of Ildar Dadin from prison is not yet a complete victory over the authoritarian regime, but it is a significant achievement in the fight against injustice and tyranny in Russia. The path to freedom is made up of such individual personal victories of great people over the system.
“In my mind, I understood that if I wanted to change life in Russia for the better, I needed to see from the inside the very things that I wanted to change. It would be proper to send the judges who break people’s lives to the very places they condemn people to, in order for them to understand what it is like there”, – Ildar said in an interview after his liberation.
During his imprisonment Ildar Dadin, same as Nadezhda Tolokonnikova before him, managed to draw attention to the horrific conditions of detention of prisoners in the Russian penitentiary system. If by sending an innocent man and well-known civic activist to the most torturous place, the Russian authorities aimed to crush and intimidate him, they have undoubtedly failed. On the contrary, because of his “mission” (as the Belarusian human rights activist and political prisoner Ales Bialiatski had one called his time in prison and penitentiary colony), not only the world learned about violence and torture there, but the prisoners themselves have realized that they could deal with this and that in fact it was not only possible, but also necessary (more information about the project #Territory torture can be found here).
Ildar Dadin was found guilty of an administrative offence concerning the rules of public protests for several times during 2014 (he was holding pickets in support of political prisoners, against political persecution in Russia, against the war in Donbass, in support of Charlie Hebdo magazine. On December 7, 2015 Basmanny district court in Moscow sentenced him in accordance with the newly introduced Article 212.1 of the Russian Criminal Code (repeated violation of the regulations concerning demonstrations). He was sentenced to three years in a penitentiary colony (the term was later lowered to two and a half years). On February 10, 2017, the Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation ruled to reconsider Ildar Dadin’s sentence. On February 22, 2017 the Supreme Court of the Russian Federtaion overruled the earlier verdict concerning Article 212.1 of the Russian Criminal Code and ordered the release of Ildar Dadin.
Photos from Anastasia Zotova’s Twitter page @Alasta_ven