Protection of the Rights of Residents of the North Caucasus Who Serve Sentences in the Russian Penal System

One of the most common problems in institutions of the penitentiary system is the impunity of officers who torture prisoners. Over 40% of complaints made to the Committee in the past three years from people who serve sentences are related to physical violence.

  • Protection of the Rights of Residents of the North Caucasus Who Serve Sentences in the Russian Penal System

“Upon arrival to the penal colony, 6 people in masks dragged me (I am practically paralyzed) to the basement and started beating me, punching my head, putting their legs on my face, they were sharpening my upper molars with a metal file and were putting needles underneath my toenails, that is why my toenails turned black, they forced me to chew sheets of paper torn out of the Koran, accompanying all this were insults of religious beliefs and faith. All of this had been filmed to send to unknown individuals. In all that time I was screaming and I even fainted from time to time. But they poured water on me to wake me up and the torture continued. After that, unknown officers of the security forces told me to give confessions about crimes that I did not commit … ”

Within the framework of the project “Protection of the Rights of Residents of North Caucasus Who Serve Sentences in the Russian Penal System” the Civic Assistance Committee provides assistance to prisoners whose rights are violated in the Russian prison system.

The programme has existed for 8 years and this is the second report dedicated to the organization’s work in this field. It covers the period from 2015 to 2018. Until January 2018 there were three coordinators of the programme. In Grozny it was Oyub Titiev. After allegations on obviously false grounds for illegal acquisition of drugs against Oyub Titiev, only two coordinators remained in the project.

In the three years, the Committee received more than 2000 applications from prisoners and their relatives with complaints of violation of their rights of those serving sentences in relation to their national and religious affiliation. 40% of complaints received related to physical and psychological violence were by employees of the penitentiary system. Currently, the European Court is considering six complaints about the violation of the rights of prisoners in Russian prisons, sent by the lawyers of the Civic Assistance Committee.

The report was prepared by Olga Chmurova and edited by Svetlana Gannushkina