Torture in Karelia (report)

REPORT (PDF)

 

Information about torture in the Republic of Karelia appeared in public on November 1, 2016, after Ildar Dadin’s letter was published on the Meduza website.

In fact, there were plenty of reports about torture prisons in Karelia even before Ildar’s letter. The “For Human Rights” movement has over a dozen complaints, including public ones (a letter from prisoner Sabitov, an open letter from Roman Vatanen and so on).

Currently several dozen prisoners who report torture are being held in Karelia prisons. The reports are coming from at least three institutions: IK-7, IK-1 and LIU-4.  

Lawyers acting in the interests of the prisoner victims have registered their evidence in the form of lawyers’ questions.

In this pamphlet we publish excerpts from the letters, complaints and lawyers’ questions which contain the evidence of prisoners who are currently serving their sentences in IK-7, IK-1 and LIU-4 in the Republic of Karelia.

Furthermore, the prisoners complain that questioning by investigators about these complaints takes place in the presence of the prison service employees about whom the complaints were written. The prisoners say they would like to give evidence to an investigator in private.

Additionally, the prisoners say that they previously complained more than once about torture to local employees of the prosecutor’s office, specifically I.A. Khrapchenkov and A. Ivlev, but the employees of the prosecutor’s office did nothing.

 

IK-7 in the Republic of Karelia

On arrival a significant proportion of prisoners are immediately placed in the punishment cell on invented pretexts – specifically, planted blades are found on them. Prisoners in the punishment cell are beaten: the beatings take place twice a day, in the morning and evening, in a special corridor where there are no video cameras. “Torture by cold” is also used on the prisoners, specifically, keeping them in unheated cells, and hanging them up by hands tied behind their backs.

 

 

 

 

Dadin, Ildar Ildusovich

Gave evidence about torture to Russia’s commissioner for human rights, Tatyana Moskalkova. Currently he is free after Supreme Court denied the decision about his criminal conviction.  

“From the moment of my arrival at the colony on September 10, 2016 they immediately took virtually all my things away and planted two blades, then ‘found’ them in a search. This is a universal practice used to ensure that a new arrival goes into the punishment cell, so that he understand straight away what hell he’s got into. They sent me to the punishment cell without any ruling, but took all my things away, including soap, my toothbrush, toothpaste and even toilet paper. I announced a hunger strike in response to these illegal actions.

“On September 11, 2016 the head of the colony Kossiev came to me with three employees. Together they started beating me.”
First letter from Ildar Dadin, recorded by lawyer Alexei Liptser

“At some point I couldn’t stand it and I screamed, a woman orderly came up to me and said, ‘Stop beating him now.’ I asked her name because there was a chance to call her as a witness, but she didn’t tell me. And the torture wasn’t recorded…

“On September 12 the guards came to me again and told me to come out of my cell for an inspection. I realised they were going to beat me again, and I said, ‘What difference does it make where you beat me, in my cell or in the corridor?’ Then they turned on the video recorder and started doing everything ‘by the book’: they said they would use force, they ran in and started twisting my arms. They used handcuffs illegally, because I didn’t resist, and what was the point of the handcuffs? I deliberately kept my palms gripped together so they couldn’t accuse me of resisting…

“And if you ask for the whole video it should be clear that they dragged me out of my cell and beat me…

“When they were beating me they put a hat with ear flaps over my head like a sack to cover my eyes. I thought they were going to kill me – then it all ended, and I smiled. That made them angrier, and someone said, ‘Look, he’s even smiling.’ They started beating me harder and demanded that I apologise to [head of IK-7 Sergei] Kossiev for my behaviour. After that they made me go down on my knees and started sarcastically quoting parts of my letter to my wife – about the fact that I was ready to go down on my knees to the woman I love – to insult me. Then they pulled down my trousers and took me somewhere with trousers down and the hat over my head. Through a narrow strip between the hat and my face I saw they were taking me out to the exercise yard. Four men raised my arms, already handcuffed, and attached them to something, but I was able to stand up. Then one of them said, ‘No, not like that,’ and they unhooked me and raised me higher so that I couldn’t stand. It was unbelievably painful, and I felt tears, snot and saliva start pouring out, and tried not to scream with all my might.

“They took off my underwear and one of them said, ‘Now you’re going to be raped, call – either Venya or Benya.”

Second letter from Ildar Dadin, recorded by his wife Anastasia Zotova

 

“After that they brought me to Kossiev’s office, where in the presence of other employees he said: ‘They haven’t beaten you much yet. If I give the order to the guards, you’ll be beaten a lot harder. Try to complain and they’ll kill you and bury you behind the fence.’ Then they beat me regularly, several times a day.”

First letter from Ildar Dadin, recorded by lawyer Alexei Liptser

 

 

Gabzayev, Khazbulat Sultanovich

Gave evidence about torture to Tatyana Moskalkova. Currently prison guards started criminally prosecute him for «attacking them», so Gabzaev was brought to another prison, SIZO-2, but also in Segezha, where he is disabled to speak his own Chechen language.

“In May 2016 after I arrived at IK-7 for invented reasons I was placed in the punishment cell for seven days, where I was subjected to systematic beatings, including with the use of a wooden mallet. I was kept in the cold cell 14.

“On September 19, 2016 I was put in the punishment cell again for 15 days, formally ‘for a non-tactful comment, swearing’, but actually for refusing to eat a pork cutlet. In the punishment cell I was subjected to a harsh beating, as a result of which my hearing on my right side deteriorated and blood came out of my right ear. Despite my repeated requests for medical assistance, it wasn’t provided.

“On October 26, 2016 they took me out of my cell to the punishment cell, lifted me by the legs, stretched me and hit me hard several times on my heels. On October 27, 2016 prison guards took me out of my cell, lifted me up and carried me to the toilet, where they shoved my head into the toilet bowl, poured some kind of liquid over my head and threatened to relieve themselves on me.”

Statement of Khadzhimurat Sultanovich Gazbayev, Khazbulat Gazbayev’s brother, to the Russian Investigations Committee.

 

“From May to November 2016 during inspections in the punishment cells prisoners were systematically beaten. Despite the fact that very loud music by the group LYUBE was playing in the corridor, I heard their screams of pain and shouted reports from prisoners who were in nearby cells.

“On December 20, 2016, during morning inspection from 8-9 am torture and torment was used on me. Coming into my cell the guards forced me to lie on the floor and  covered me with a bedspread. They shoved my head down on the floor with something very heavy, probably a foot. They took me to the prison governor’s office. They stopped in front of the governor’s office and hit me in the region of my stomach. Two guards participated in the torment, each of whom hit me several times.”
Lawyers questioning of Khazbulat Sultanovich Gabzayev, conducted by lawyer Maxim Ivanovich Kamakin 20.12.2016.

 

“On December 21, 2016 two prison guards came to see me and one of them kicked me in the head. They forced me to get up. Later at about 8:30 on the same day two or three prison guards came into my cell. They demanded that I came out into the corridor. I refused. There in my cell they knocked me down, handcuffed me, stretched me very hard by the wrists, and put a sack over my head made of thick, heavy material. They tied the sack with a string near my eyes so that the sack didn’t come off my head, then hit me many times on my head, on the top and back parts of it, which were covered by the sack. After that they handcuffed me behind my back to a heating pipe and left me in that position for a period of at least an hour.”
Lawyer’s questioning of Khazbulat Sultanovich Gabzayev, conducted by lawyer Maxim Ivanovich Kamakin, 27.12.2016.

 

“When I came into the prison SIZO-2, I heard very loud music, which continued to sound from 10-00 a.m. till 12-00 p.m. Everyone who was in the prison SIZO-2 in Karelia were in torture conditions at that time. During my meeting  with Gabzaev, I heard  shouts “Help!“ from the street“.
Told by lawyer Maxim Ivanovich Kamakin, 27.12.2016.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mgoyan, Misha Khdrovich

Broke arm and jaw, has spinal injury. Walks with a cane.

“On November 22, 2010 I was transferred to IK-7 in the Republic of Karelia. Three guards started beating me and put handcuffs on me. They beat me for about 10 minutes, after which they put me in the punishment cell, in cell No. 14. This was the torture cell, as there was no small window in it, and it was very cold in the room. In the evening they took me out of the cell and five prison guards started beating me with their fists and legs, and banging my head against the wall. The torment went on for about 20-30 minutes.

“The next morning at about 9 am, after the shift change, I was taken out to the corridor, where there were eight prison guards. All eight people started beating me, they beat me with their fists and legs and banged my head against the wall. Then they handcuffed me behind my back and took me out to the exercise yard, where they poured a bucket of cold water over me.  It was very cold outside. They left me alone in the yard, wet. After about 40 minutes the pain became intolerable and I started screaming…

“They tortured me for a period of about four months. Among the tortures were hanging me up by handcuffs behind my back, on a rack, attaching the handcuffs the metal bars that were located under the ceilings of punishment cells 37 and 38. Hanging on this rack lasted for about 40 minutes. I screamed from pain until I lost consciousness. I calculated the time from the loudly playing radio – the news came on once an hour.

“They also suffocated me, beat me on my heels with a rubber hammer through rubber slippers, damaging the soles of my feet to such an extent that I couldn’t stand by myself. In that period they broke my left arm in the vicinity of my elbow.

“They put me into premises of the cell type (PKT), where I spent three months. In that time they tortured me twice a day, in the morning and evening, during the shift change. Since they couldn’t hang me up on the rack because of my broken arm, they used the following torture on me: they put a very heavy red book on my lower back, and after that they started beating me in the vicinity of my kidneys and on my spine. Seven prison guards participated in this torture. The pain was very strong, I screamed loudly and begged them to release me. This torture went on for about 20-40 minutes depending on the guards’ mood. They beat me with their legs, fists and with a rubber hammer. At the same time they insulted me as much as they could. This torture went on for about two months.”
Lawyer’s questioning of Misha Khdrovich Mgoyan, conducted by lawyer Maxim Ivanovich Kamakin 21.12.2016.

 

“Currently there is pressure on prisoners. Many prisoners are being summoned to deputy governor Dmitri Petrovich Drozdov for preventive conversations with the aim of recalling complaints.

“I want to report that previously the prison administration in Karelia used the following method of suppressing prisoners. The prisoner is placed in a cell in which there is no sign with the prisoner’s name. No one except the prison governor knows where this prisoner is.

“They still don’t provide me with medical assistance. They took away the corset for relieving spinal pain and don’t let me wear it. I don’t go out for exercises because they took my cane away and I can’t move independently.”
Lawyers questioning of Misha Khdrovich Mgoyan, conducted by lawyer Maxim Ivanovich Kamakin 18.01.2017

 

“On February 13 and 14, 2017, tortures with loud music were renewed. As a result, there were shouts and knocks of prisoners to turn off the music. ”

Lawyers questioning of Misha Khdrovich Mgoyan, conducted by lawyer Maxim Ivanovich Kamakin 17.02.2017

 

“On 7th March, 2017, at half past three I was taken into the IK-7 headmasters cabinet. There were  three persons in this room, two of them were dressed in the civil uniform and presented themselves as FSB staff, the last one was deputy chief of IK-7, Morozov Sergey Vladimirovich.

They asked me about lawyers from Saint-Petersburg. They insisted, that these lawyers are swindlers, who make prisoners to lie and give wrong indications, that these lawyers were the reason of criminal cases made against the prisoners cause of false delation. Two criminal cases were made and the third case will be made against me, they said.

I want to declare that all indications I gave by myself and all that was written by the lawyer I support fully.

They threatened me that if I didn’t agree with their conditions they would begin a criminal case against me. The conditions are:

  1. Refusal of all my indications that I gave
  2. They will spread defamatory information about me in all the regions.

In case when I do all their conditions they promised to  transfer me to other region with better conditions  and now when I am in the prison IK-7, I will be in more comfortable conditions. And they required to give indications against my lawyer.

I perceive their tortures and I am afraid about my life and health  and ask to apply measures to provide my safety including my transfer to other region of Russian Federation.

I still haven’t received qualified medical help.

Lawyers questioning of Misha Khdrovich Mgoyan, conducted by lawyer Maxim Ivanovich Kamakin 23.03.2017

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shurgaya, Koba Shalvovich

Gave evidence about torture to prosecutors. Currently prison guards started criminally prosecute him for «false».

“They beat me twice a day (every shift change) for over nine months. As a result of systematic beatings I have the following injuries: a broken rib, injured spine and both shoulder blades, injured ears and stomach, injured legs. The tumour on my leg still hasn’t fallen off, and my groin is torn from forced leg stretching.

“The beatings and torment took place in the following way: they took me out to the corridor twice a day for inspection, put me in a brace facing the wall and demanded that I tell them my surname, first name and patronymic, what article I was sentenced under, the start and end of my prison sentence, and the name of the cell guard on duty. They filmed this interval of reporting with a video camera. Then they turned off the video camera and started to torment me. They forced me into a  brace, separating my legs with their hands, tearing my groin ligaments, and beat me with their legs and fists, trying not to leave marks. After or during the beatings and torments they forced me to shout, reporting again many times, each time louder and louder. These torments went on for a considerable time, until I started to lose consciousness.”
Lawyer’s questioning of Koba Shalvovich Shurgaya, conducted by lawyer Maxim Ivanovich Kamakin, 19.12.16.

 

“At the time of my beating I was in punishment cell No. 35, there were no other prisoners in the cell. They didn’t beat me in the cell itself, as there’s a video camera in it. They took me out to the corridor and used violence there. Several people beat me, including one of the prison governor’s aide’s assistants, and also the prisoner governor’s aide Yurlov himself and young guard Filippov, who spread my legs to opposite sides.”
Lawyer’s questioning of Koba Shalvovich Shurgaya, conducted by lawyer Vitaly Viktorovich Cherkosov 12.12.2016.

“The last time I was beaten on February 12 or 14, 2016. Violence was used against me by about 10-12 guards on the duty shift.  They beat me with their fists and legs. They put me in a brace to such an extent that they bent my head to the floor, spread my legs to opposite sides, and beat me on the head with various objects. Then they took me to the office of the governor of IK-7, who threatened to shut me in the exercise yard naked so that I’d die of cold.”
Lawyer’s questioning of Koba Shalvovich Shurgaya, conducted by lawyer Vitaly Viktorovich Cherkosov 01.12.2016.

 

“On December 6, 2016 accompanied by the governor of IK-7 a high-ranking officer from the prison service of the Republic of Karelia came to my cell, I won’t say his name now, out of fear for my safety. This officer spoke to me angrily: as I understood it, he was unhappy that there was an investigation into violence being used against me. He told the governor of IK-7 to criminally prosecute me for giving false evidence and slandering the prison guards.”
Lawyer’s questioning of Koba Shalvovich Shurgaya, conducted by lawyer Vitaly Viktorovich Cherkasov 12.12.2016.

 

“On December 12, 2016 I gave lawyer V.V. Cherkasov a statement that contained information about crimes committed against me of a violent nature. On December 14, 2016 I was summoned by the governor of IK-7, Kossiev S.L. and he gave me my statement back, and also promised to add at least 18 months to my sentence.” Lawyer’s questioning of Koba Shalvovich Shurgaya, conducted by lawyer Maxim Ivanovich Kamakin 19.12.2016.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nagoyev, Murat Zaurovich

Gave evidence about torture to Tatyana Moskalkova.

“I arrived at IK-7 in the town of Segezha at 17:00 in the evening on August 14, 2015. They conducted a search, planted a blade in my bottle of Rexona deodorant, and on that basis made a report about putting me in the punishment cell. I spent that night in the transfer premises (without sheets, slept in my clothes, on a dirty  mattress), there was no little window, just a hole without glass, there was a strong draught…

“On August 15, 2015 the head of the quarantine section took me to an office (his) and started trying to persuade me to confess that the blade was mine. He personally made the report. So as not to develop the situation I signed this report. After that they took me to the acting prison governor, A. V. Byvshev, who sent me to the punishment cell for 15 days. I was put into punishment cell 14. There was no partition for the toilet in that cell, and it had a video camera on the ceiling pointed specifically at the toilet. For my first three days in that cell they didn’t give me soap or toilet paper, there wasn’t even an empty bottle.

“On August 15, 2015 at about 18:15-18:30 in the evening I came out of my cell for inspection, they told me to stand up against the all, to kiss the wall. They spread my legs and pushed my knees against the wall, beat me on my lower back, struck me painfully on my right knee, and then twisted my arm and dislocated my shoulder (to this day I have the characteristic crack of a dislocated shoulder). And that went on for at least 20 minutes. The guards shouted: ‘You’ll die here, we’ll hang you.’ On August 16, 2015 during the evening inspection assistant to the prison governor’s aide Yuri Mikhailovich [Yurlov] came to me and threatened that if I complained about the previous day’s event he would stick his sexual organ in my face, after which I would be considered ‘sodomised’. After that I decided not to complain.

“On Tuesday, September 1, 2015, the assistant prosecutor came and summoned me, they brought me to the governor’s office, at the meeting there were two assistant prosecutors, and acting governor of IK-7 A.V. Byvshev. The prosecutors told me not to complain. After that conversation I realised there was no one here to complain to. I got the impression that the prosecutor’s office and the prison administration were one entity.

“On September 5, 2015 at the evening inspection I was beaten and put in a brace. The same Yuri Mikhailovich beat me according to the same plan. On September 10, 2015 they transferred me to punishment cell 17. On September 18, 2015 they used physical force against me again, also at the evening inspection.

“Koba Shalvovich Shurgaya was beaten at least 3-4 times in punishment cell 35 in a week. He was beaten by guard Alexander Mezentsev. When they came to beat him they demanded that he loudly shout his report (name, article, sentence, date of birth). Because of the frequent beatings and my good memory I remembered the prisoner’s information very well.

“On April 21, 2016, on Thursday, at the morning inspection, Zelimkhan Isaeyevich Geliskhanov was beaten, he was being held in cell 2 of the cell-type premises. They beat him from 08:10 in the morning for 30-40 minutes. Then they took him out to the exercise yard and hung him up there.

“In early May 2016 I heard them bringing Khazbulat Gabzayev to punishment cell 7. They beat him very badly because after lunch he left a few pieces of bread for himself. They shouted at him, and Alexei Nelyubin said, ‘We’ll hang you and thrash you.’

“In May 2016 Igor Zhukov was being held in cell 5. He is mentally ill. He spread filth around the cell (faeces and urine). The guards came and forced him to clean the whole cell. He behaved like a child. They beat him often.

“On June 20, 2016 they brought me to the headquarters. The governor of IK-7, Sergei Kossiev, told me that I’d gone crazy because I had prayed. He told everyone that if they saw me praying, he ordered them to rush into my cell and beat me. I said I would complain to Andrei Babushkin, a rights defender. He said they were all foreign agents and he didn’t care about them.

“On September 21, 2016 I also heard them beating new arrival Alexei Vladimirovich Filippov. On September 22, 2016 at the morning inspection, cell 5, Gabzayev was beaten for praying. On October 12, 2016 Gabzayev was locked in punishment cell 5 again and beaten for religious reasons. They also beat him on October 16, 2016. The last time they beat him was in late October. On October 25, 2016 they took him out of the punishment cell. Then I heard in the news about the beating of rights defender Dadin. After that they turned off our radio and started putting music CDs on. On November 3, 2016 Tatyana Moskalkova came. I told her everything. She listened to me. Then Russian Federal Prison Service employee Igor Shitko talked to me from the department. He made a video recording of me. I wrote a statement about all the incidents to the head of the Russian Interior Ministry department for the Segezha district of Karelia, Y. Lyutov. On November 4, 2016 from 19:30 to 20:30 a man in civilian clothes conducted a polygraph on me in Sergei Kossiev’s office in the headquarters. I asked him why. He replied that it was for the personal interest of the Russian Prison Service in the Republic of Karelia.”
Lawyers questioning of Murat Zaurovich Nagoyev, conducted by lawyer S.N. Yashina 02.12.2016

 

“On the night of November 4, 2016 several people came to me in cell No. 1 and took me to the office of the prison governor. There was a man in the office who introduced himself as an employee of the Federal Prison Service. This man demanded to take my statement about a crime that I had sent to the police. If I didn’t fulfill his demand he threatened that after investigations the regime in the prison would get stricter and would be much worse than before, and if I were released I would be released disabled, and they’d write a profile about me so that I wouldn’t last 10 days as a free man, they’d say in the profile that I was inclined towards extremism and instigate prisoners towards extremist activity.”
Lawyer’s questioning of Murat Zaurovich Nagoyev, conducted by lawyer Maxim Ivanovich Kamakin 19.12.2016

 

“If there is an objective and full investigation I am prepared to report to the investigator all the full information, and also give the names and descriptions of the guards who beat and tortured me. I didn’t give this information to the investigator who came to see me in prison on November 5, 2016, because together with him there was a guard from IK-7 making a video recording of my conversation with the investigator. Before the investigator’s visit employees of the Federal Prison Service had talked to me, and they put pressure on me so that I would tell the investigator I didn’t have any complaints.”
Lawyer’s questioning of Murat Zaurovich Nagoyev, conducted by lawyer Vitaly Viktorovich Cherkasov 12.12.2016

 

“From the conversations of the guards between themselves I managed to find out that the system of beatings was organised by the prison leadership, which also indicated which prisoner in a particular period to subject to intensive torture. In this system of torture a specific slang exists, and they call beatings and torture a ‘preventive conversation’. Preventive conversations can have different levels of harshness. The hardest level is strict, in which the prisoner is intensively tortured and can be hung up by his handcuffs on a rack,  twisting his arms behind his back. In early September 2016 I heard a conversation between the guards about the need to use a ‘strict level preventive conversation’ on Ildar Dadin.”
Lawyers questioning of Murat Zaurovich Nagoyev, conducted by lawyer Maxim Ivanovich Kamakin 19.12.2016

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Islamov, Ali Miserbievich

“I was greeted at IK-7 in Segezha like this: they put me in cell No. 14, which is near the exit to the yard. This was done specially to make the cells cold for torture.

“I arrived on a Friday, and on Monday at the morning inspection they took me out of my cell and put me up against the wall in the position for a search. They handcuffed me behind my back and used the procedure of stretching me in a brace. One guard pushes a leg to one side with his leg, and another pushes one to the other side, up to contact with my genitals.

“They put me in a normal position and the guard pronounced these words specially on the video recording: ‘Prisoner Islamov  refuses to obey the legal demands of the administration., and  special methods will be used on him.’ They banged my head against the wall several times…

“They turned off the video camera and took me out to the yard. There they handcuffed me behind my back and hung me up by a strap. They hung me up so that I was touching the ground with my toes and the soles of my feet at -30 degrees. After about an hour they took me down, I couldn’t feel my hands or feet. I still can’t feel the soles of my feet, they’re turning black. In that yard, while I was hanging up, they tormented me and threatened to rape me, for which they brought a prisoner who stood there and they told me it was he would perform the act of rape. This was all led by A.V. Terekh together with his first deputy Fedotov. Employees of the administration of IK-7 took part in my beating. Sergei Kossiev knew about everything that was happening, he was in his office.”
Lawyers questioning of Ali Miserbievich Islamov, conducted by lawyer Svetlana Nikolayevna Yashina 02.12.2016

 

“My complaints that I sent: in the name of the Department for the Observation of Citizens’ Constitutional Rights D.S. Zhuykov December 16, 2016; to the Russian President’s Human Rights Commissioner M.A. Fedotov December 23, 2016; to the department of the president for working with citizens’ letters to M.G. Mikhailovsky December 16, 2016 – which I gave to the prison administration to send, not sent to this day, and no documents confirming that they have been sent have been given to me.

“They don’t give out personal underwear (socks, pants). Prisoners wear the underwear they give out after we wash, after other prisoners. I’ve often seen streaks of pus and blood spots in the pants they gave me. As a result of not observing personal hygiene I got spots on my legs that  itch. I also heard newly arrived prisoners being tormented on December 19, 2016.”
Lawyer’s questioning of Ali Miserbievich Islamov, conducted by lawyer Maxim Ivanovich Kamakin 28.12.2016

 

“On January 7, 2017 during the evening inspection prison governor Sergei Kossiev, who was responsible for the prison on that day, came up close to me and said, ‘I can see that you’ve started to relax here. Wait a bit, it’ll quieten down now, and I’ll pull out your legs.’ After that he swore filthily.”
Lawyer’s questioning of Ali Miserbievich Islamov, conducted by lawyer Maxim Ivanovich Kamakin 18.01.2017

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Geliskhanov, Zelimkhan Isayevich

“Throughout the whole of 2012 I was subjected to humiliation and torture by employees of the correctional institution. In particular, they hung me up by my arms to a strap in handcuffs (for 1-1.5 hours); made me stretch in a brace (they grabbed me by my trunk and pulled me in opposite directions until the ligaments in my legs tore); and they caused bodily injuries of varying degrees of severity.

“I reported these incidents multiple times to superior officials in the Federal Prison Service system for the Republic of Karelia, and specifically to Lt.-Col. Yefremov and Col. Terekh. Moreover, during visiting inspections by departments of the prosecutor’s office I managed to report to prosecutor Khrapchenkov and his assistant about these violations.

“After the officials left they started beating and torturing me with twice the severity. I didn’t get a result from my reports about crimes, the torture didn’t stop, and the officials of the correctional institution weren’t brought to justice. Moreover, I didn’t have an opportunity to send a postal statement and complaints about the actions of the administration of IK-7, as my post was selectively blocked.

“During the evening inspection on March 11, 2016 they started torturing me by stretching me in a brace. After the end of the inspection I went into my cell and cut the veins in my arms and stomach with the aim of committing suicide. I don’t know if materials about my suicide attempt were sent to the prosecutor’s office or law-enforcement bodies.

“On March 13, 2016 during the conducting of the morning inspection I was again subjected to physical violence by employees of the administration. So, they used torture by means of stretching me in a brace, after which they kicked me down and started beating me with their fists.

“On March 15, 2016 my (temporary) lawyer visited me, who saw my physical condition and advised me to make a complaint in the name of the prison governor, which I did. A note with roughly the following content was attached to it: ‘In the event of my death I ask you to blame S. L. Kossiev’, which was given back to me.

“After receiving my complaints A. A. Serov summoned me (the deputy prison governor) and forced me to write a refutation of those statements using threats and persuasion, while giving his ‘officer’s word’ that he wouldn’t touch me any more. However, on April 21, 2016 during the morning inspection they beat me and tortured me by hanging me up by handcuffs, and they also forced my head into the toilet because I had been praying at a time when it wasn’t allowed. A day before that Sergei Kossiev threatened me with retribution if I didn’t stop praying.”
Lawyer’s questioning of Zelimkhan Isayevich Geliskhanov, conducted by lawyer A. S. Kutuzova 17.11.2016

 

“In late summer – early autumn 2016 during inspection I heard them bringing a prisoner from the neighbouring corridor to the corridor where my cell was. When the prisoner started to state his information I heard the name Dadin. Later I heard sounds that were similar to the sounds that are made by blows. During that the prisoner groaned quietly. Later I heard one of the guards say ‘legs wider’. After which the prisoner howled and I came to the conclusion that he was being tortured, as I myself had been subjected to torture on  more than one occasion (stretching in a brace). I started knocking on the door and shouting for them to stop the torment. After that they stopped the torture and took him away to another corridor. Since music by the group LYUBE was playing, it’s difficult for me to say whether the torture continued outside the corridor where my cell was.”
Lawyer’s questioning of Zelimkhan Isayevich Geliskhanov, conducted by lawyer Maxim Ivanovich Kamakin 20.12.2016

 

 

 

 

 

IK-1 in the Republic of Karelia

This prison is the only one in Karelia where besides being beaten, hung up and put in a brace prisoners have also complained of rape and even murder. According to the prisoners’ testimony, the beatings are mainly carried out by so-called “activists”, i.e. prisoners who  collaborate with the administration. Complaints include beatings in quarantine, extortion and slave labour.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mamayev, Anzor Khamidovich

Gave evidence about torture to Tatyana Moskalkova.

“They brought me to IK-7, locked me in the punishment cell and started to beat me. That was in early April, I don’t remember the exact date, since I could hardly move due to my difficult transfer. I was beaten by Yurlov (the governor’s aide) and his replacement on the shift. They beat me on the head with wooden mallets and forced me to eat pork, shoving it into my mouth until I vomited. They also beat me on my trunk and used a torture on me that was called the ‘brace’. In the punishment cell they tortured me like this for about a week.

“I tried to tell people about these tortures in my complaints and letters that I sent in the post, but it was useless. All correspondence was blocked, and if the administration found out about someone’s intention to write a letter, they beat and tortured the person. The prosecutor came twice. There was no reaction to my oral reports of torture.

“Cell 14 is at the end of the corridor near the boiler room in IK-7. The radio blasts out from behind the door and screams are inaudible. They usually beat you in the blind zone between cell No. 14 and the corridor.

“Employee of IK-7 A. P. Drozd promised me a phone and no work, and also visits to the shops if I said that the evidence I’d given to Moskalkova was a lie and that I had been too hasty when I told her about torture and beatings at IK-7. I didn’t renounce my words, as they were true. For renouncing my evidence A. A. Serov  promised to ‘remove my mark’, that is, take me out of their report.”
Lawyer’s questioning of Anzor Khamidovich Mamayev, conducted by lawyer Anna Sergeyevna Kutuzova 17.11.2016

 

“After my meeting with Moskalkova (I told her everything about the beatings and torture) there were rights defenders from the public observation committee, and I told them everything about the humiliations and beatings that had happened too. After the public observation committee the prosecutor came. I didn’t write statements about the specific people who had beaten me as I was afraid for my life (and the prosecutor didn’t guarantee me any safety). They immediately gave me 15 days in the punishment cell.”
Lawyer’s questioning of Anzor Khamidovich Mamayev, conducted by lawyer Konstantin Alexandrovich Markin 09.01.2017

 

“On November 10, 2016 a commission was organised, and Kossiev was there. They didn’t take an explanation about the essence of the rights violation from me. They called me a malicious violator of the rules, and the next day they sent me to IK-1 in the Republic of Karelia. On arrival at IK-1 they put me in a cell by myself, and they used torture on me there, specifically the brace. During the use of this torture marks appeared on my body, specifically a bruise on  my leg and an abrasion on my arm. Medical personnel responded to my request to register the beatings with a refusal.”
Lawyer’s questioning of Anzor Khamidovich Mamayev, conducted by lawyer Anna Sergeyevna Kutuzova 17.11.2016

 

“After my transfer from IK-7 I started a hunger strike because of the guards’ illegal actions. I was on hunger strike for 16 days. On the 17th day they already wanted to force-feed me, directly to my intestine, as I had a stomach ulcer. To avoid humiliation I started eating.”
Lawyer’s questioning of Anzor Khamidovich Mamayev, conducted by lawyer Natalia Borisovna Vasilkova 03.12.2016

 

“On December 19, 2016 I made a complaint via employees of IK-1 to the Prosecutor’s Office of the Republic of Karelia. But I wasn’t sure that the administration of IK-1 sent my complaint, they didn’t even give me a document with the number of my correspondence, under which they’d supposedly sent my complaint.”
Lawyer’s questioning of Anzor Khamidovich Mamayev, conducted by lawyer Konstantin Alexandrovich Markin 09.01.2017

 

 

Zaitsev, Alexander Nikolayevich

Gave evidence about torture, was taken to St-Petersburg in hospital. Needs heart surgery after tortures.

“I want to draw your attention to the description of the quarantine section in IK-1: at the entrance several people started beating me, specifically employees of the Federal Prison Service, while telling me that I was an animal, a convict and unworthy of life. That happened for no reason, first in the quarantine yard, then they dragged me into the changing room and beat me with their legs, fists and sticks.

“They took me to the medical section, and in the morning F. P. Pankrashov came into the ward and rudely accused me of faking.  The medical section’s orderly A. Malakhov warned me that if I complained about the beating and tried to register my injuries I’d get put in the punishment cell and into the category of ‘the aggrieved’.

“The next day they took me to the supply room, in there were orderlies Artem Vlasov and Alexander Ivanenko, and they said they’d received an instruction to put me in the category of the so-called ‘sodomised’ prisoners. At the same time they showed me  the stick they would shove up my rectum, and they would film this all with a video camera and still camera. But out of sympathy for me they proposed solving this issue in a material way and demanded that I give them 300,000 roubles. They gave me a phone, I called my brother and my friends and asked them to collect this amount for me. First they gave me the number of a bank card, then they called my brother themselves, and he transferred 100,000 roubles to their man in St. Petersburg, and he promised to transfer another 200,000 roubles later.

“They didn’t touch me any more, but I had to see what they were doing to other prisoners: they put a bucket on their heads and beat the bucket with a stick, and tape up their mouths with Scotch tape. Or they just stand them in the ‘puffin’ pose – feet together, head pushed down, and for moving or independent adjustment of the pose they beat you. They beat you without bruises in the vicinity of the stomach and kidneys, on the legs, and put them in a brace.”
Complaint of Alexander Nikolayevich Zaitsev to the Russian Investigations Committee

 

“Separately I want to talk about the ‘training inspections’ that were conducted in IK-1. This is when they parade the prisoners and tell them that an inspector has come, and they can give him all their complaints. Then they bring a person who is dressed like an inspector, and whom the prisoners in the division don’t know. And if any of the prisoners complains to this pseudo-inspector, they then take that prisoner away and punish him (including by beating him) so that all the rest lose their own desire to complain to anyone. And as a result, when a real inspector comes, no one has a desire to complain, as people don’t know if this is a real inspection or another ‘exercise’. Consequently it all looks for the inspector as if the prisoners are happy with everything.”

Lawyer’s questioning of Alexander Nikolayevich Zaitsev, conducted by lawyer Konstantin Alexandrovich Markin 09.01.2017

 

“By sending this complaint I’m risking my life. At the same time I want to warn you that if there is a lethal outcome with me, I place the responsibility on Lieutenant-Colonel of the internal service A. V. Kozlov, Major of the internal service V. I. Zablotsky, and Captain P. O. Vasilyev.”
Complaint of Alexander Nikolayevich Zaitsev to the Russian Investigations Committee

 

“Complaints submitted by me: December 12, 2016 in the name of the prosecutor of the Republic of Karelia (Federal Institution IK-1 didn’t send the complaint). December 15, 2016 in the name of the prosecutor for oversight of the legality of correctional institutions in the Republic of Karelia I. A. Khrapchenkov (Federal Institution IK-1 only sent it on December 28, 2016). I also sent complaints via lawyer O. A. Salimgareyev in the name of the prosecutor-general of the Russian Federation and the director of the Federal Prison Service (I don’t know what happened to those yet – I haven’t received a reply). Also on January 9, 2017 I sent via the censors of Federal Institution IK-1 (showing them on a video camera) statements in the name of Bastrykin (to the Russian Investigations Committee), prosecutor of the Republic of Karelia Gavrilyan and human rights commissioner for the Republic of Karelia A. S. Sharapov. The statements were dated January 4, 2017. The statements were sent as registered letters (they were put into envelopes with 43-rouble stamps on them, the envelopes were printed). At the same time, since the employees of IK-1 refused to personally accept from me (take) these letters for sending, I was forced to put them in a special box for letters.”
Lawyer’s questioning of Alexander Nikolayevich Zaitsev, conducted by lawyer Konstantin Alexandrovich Markin 09.01.2017

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kerdalev, Gennady Gennadievich

Calls himself a citizen of Moldova.

“I can say that in IK-1 on reception of prisoners beatings are used on new arrivals by other prisoners in quarantine. They beat everyone very badly, they cover their mouths with Scotch tape, stick a mop handle into their jackets, pull down their trousers and threaten to shove the stick up their rectums. They beat them, frighten them and force them to work at night. These demands come on behalf of the governor of the institution via the prisoner activists. Ordinary prisoners serving their sentence in IK-1 really hope for a representative of a human rights organisation and human rights commissioner to come.  We have complained to local prosecutor Ivlev multiple times, with no result.”
Lawyer’s questioning of Gennady Gennadievich Kerdalev, conducted by lawyer Natalia Borisovna Vasilkova 14.12.2016

 

“Andriasov Grigoriy arrived in IK-1. He moved with crutches (they say it was because of damaged spine). He is a citizen of Germany but he has no opportunity to connect consul. He also has no opportunity to connect his wife. Now he afraid even to go to sleep because of danger.”
Lawyer’s questioning of Gennady Gennadievich Kerdalev, conducted by lawyer Konstantin Alexandrovich Markin 06.03.2017

 

“I know people in IK-1 who were extorted money ostensibly. They were told that they would be in safety and soon they will come home by grant of parole. Moreover, I know prisoners who work for free on the industrial manufacture on IK-1. But during the inspections they are not taken out to the work. There are other violations in IK-1 but I will be ready to speak about them only after the meeting with consul or ambassador of the Republic of Moldova and I will be ready to speak about it only with investigators and only in case of providing my safety. ”

Lawyer’s questioning of Gennady Gennadievich Kerdalev, conducted by lawyer Konstantin Alexandrovich Markin 22.03.2017

LIU-4 in the Republic of Karelia

This establishment is not only for punishing but also for treatment. At the same time the prisoners assert that employees of LIU-4 do not so much treat them, as disable them. Rumours circulate in all Karelia prisons about the terrible village of Onda, where prisoners are deliberately infected with tuberculosis, and beaten more severely than in other Federal Prison Service establishments in the region.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mgoyan, Misha Khdrovich

Now in IK-7

“In December 2011 they transferred me to LIU-4 with suspected tuberculosis. They hung me up on a rack by my handcuffs with my hands behind my back in punishment cell 10, from a metal heating pipe. The duration of this hanging was between one hour 40 minutes and two hours. They didn’t react to my screaming and begging for help. They took me down only when I lost consciousness and saliva was pouring out of my mouth. They hung me on that rack between January 2012 until May 2016 about six or seven times in total.

“Every day, twice a day, they tortured me, forcing me into a brace. If the prison guards saw that the torture by brace wasn’t causing significant pain, they beat me with a green rubber mallet on the soles of my feet through rubber slippers. This torture went on for about 20 minutes until I couldn’t stand by myself. This torture was used on me two or three times a week from January 2012 to May 2016. And although this torture hasn’t been used on me for six months already, my soles still hurt, and it’s difficult for me to walk.

“They also used the following torture on me and other prisoners, insulting human dignity: they take the prisoner out to the corridor, order him to strip naked, then kick him down and kick the naked man lying on the floor. This torture went on for about 10-15 minutes, after which it was the turn of the next prisoner in the neighbouring cell.

“I know that currently they torture the prisoners in the cells next to mine. I’ve heard them beating a prisoner from punishment cell 10 severely right after the shift change. Artem Rukhtayev is in there now. I know that he’s local, from Karelia. I also want to say that my complaints to the prosecutor’s office and the Federal Prison Service haven’t been examined, they haven’t even been registered. The medical assistance they give me doesn’t work, the pain from injuries to my jaw, arm, soles and spine torments me to this day.  I haven’t had a full medical examination.”
Lawyer’s questioning of Misha Khdrovich Mgoyan, conducted by lawyer Maxim Ivanovich Kamakin 21.12.2016

Rukhtayev, Artem Alexandrovich

“On December 8, 2016 prosecutor Vyacheslav Vladimirovich Pobedinsky came to see me, and took a written explanation from me in which I told him about how they put me into an isolation cell without any justification. On December 9, 2016 another prosecutor came to see me, Igor Vladimirovich Peretyakin, to whom I gave similar explanations. On December 13, 2016 my complaint was made to Segezha district city court about my illegal placement in an isolation cell.

“On December 19, 2016 from 08:00 to 10:00 near the entrance to the punishment cell they started torturing me: two employees of the administration took me by the arms, and two stretched my legs, and this was led by the block chief whose name is Nikolai Ivanovich (I think Gulyakin), they twisted my left arm, which I write with, beat the soles of my feet with a mallet, and suffocated me with a hat that they put over my face. After that they kicked me down, twisted my arms, and one of my attackers pressed on my ears so that it was as if needles were sticking into my brain, after which I couldn’t eat for several days. During the beating the head of security (Nikolai Ivanovich) constantly told me that this was punishment for the complaint I’d made, and if I didn’t stop complaining my tortures would continue regularly.

“On December 19, 2016 at 14:00 I asked for medical assistance, but it wasn’t provided to me. From 17:00 to 18:00 they started torturing me for a second time opposite punishment cell 16, this time employees of the administration from another shift under the leadership of the head of the operative section Mogilevich. They stretched my arms on the wall so that I was hanging in the air, and two other guards stretched my legs, then they beat the soles of my feet with a mallet, passing the mallet to each other. During the beating I screamed loudly. Petr Gennadievich Primerin, who was being held in punishment cell 16, shouted from behind the door, demanding that they stop beating me. During the beating Mogilevich told me that they were beating me for my request for medical assistance, and if I didn’t stop complaining the beatings would continue with increased force.

“On the morning of December 20, 2016 employees of the administration led by Mogilevich again used torture on me: they stretched my legs. On December 27, 2016 at 11:10 I was summoned to Kirill Ivanovich Bondarovich, who told me that if I didn’t stop talking about my beatings and tortures then after New Year the beatings would take place every day until I died.”
Lawyer’s questioning of Artem Alexandrovich Rukhtayev, conducted by lawyer Leonid Leonidovich Krikun 27.12.2016

 

“On December 31, 2016 the prison governor Kirill Ivanovich Bondarovich came to see me and demanded that I write a renunciation of my complaints about beatings, humiliation and torture. I refused to write this renunciation. The governor said that prisoner Petr Gennadievich Primerin had written a renunciation of his complaints. Moreover, he had written a statement saying that I had persuaded Petr Gennadievich Primerin to write complaints about beatings, torture and humiliation. Chapaykin and Belskikh would give the same statements. Then the governor said that after taking statements that I had persuaded Chapaykin and Belskikh he would gather the materials and send them to the investigations department so they could open a criminal case against me. Governor Bondarovich said that when the investigation was over I would  be in the punishment cell permanently, in the cold cell 10, and they would beat me constantly.

“The administration prepared for the arrival of a commission. In connection with that on January 18, 2017 they put me in the stationary observation section with no justification. The administration thought that the commission wouldn’t come to the stationary section as there were sick people in it with serious illnesses.”
Lawyer’s questioning of Artem Alexandrovich Rukhtayev, conducted by lawyer Sergei Yurievich Bykovsky 19.01.2017

 

 

 

 

Primerin, Petr Gennadievich

“In IK-7 this is what they did to me:

“- from June 15, 2015 for 10 days they put me in a brace, beat my kidneys and gastric muscles with a flex, beat me on the head and hung me up by my hands cuffed behind my back.

“ – from June 25, 2015 until the end of my time in IK-7 the actions listed above were repeated every 3-4 days.

“In LIU-4 they put me in a brace on December 23 or 24, 2016 as punishment for my hearing the torture of Artem Alexandrovich Rukhtayev.”
Lawyer’s questioning of Petr Gennadievich Primerin, conducted by lawyer Leonid Leonidovich Krikun 27.12.2016

 

 

Belskikh, Vitaly Valerievich

“On December 15, 2016 at about 17:00 I was in punishment cell 18. When I heard Rukhtayev’s screams, shouting ‘Stop!’ I realised that employees of the administration were beating him, because I knew that Rukhtayev had complained about the food, and the guards always beat everyone who complains.

“In November 2015 in the corridor of the punishment cells near cell No. 11 employees of LIU-4 led by Morozov used physical violence and torture on me – they stretched my legs. As a result of the torture I received the following injuries: I tore the internal side of my thigh (left) and my right knee was injured.

“In June 2016, when I was being held in the punishment cell, in cell No. 10, I was beaten for promising to complain to the prosecutor’s office, and employees of LIU-4 used torture on me: they put me on the floor, as they couldn’t stretch me, and started beating my heels with a stick. They stopped beating me only after I promised not to complain.”
Lawyer’s questioning of Vitaly Valerievich Belskikh, conducted by lawyer Leonid Leonidovich Krikun 28.12.2016

 

Chepaykin, Dmitri Nikolayevich

“About the beating of Artem Alexandrovich Rukhtayev I can say the following. On December 19, 2016 at about 17:00 near punishment cell 10 I heard Rukhtayev’s screams, shouting that he was being beaten. I’m prepared to give more precise explanations to an investigator so that an investigation of Rukhtayev’s statement can be made and a criminal case can be opened against the people who beat him.”
Lawyer’s questioning of Dmitri Nikolayevich Chepaykin, conducted by lawyer Leonid Leonidovich Krikun 28.12.2016

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The region of Karelia is now a testing ground for the return of GULAG in Russia. After the great scandal the prison staff stopped with beating people who are under the supervision of our lawyers. But our fight is not over, because the prisoners are under pressure, they are forced to refuse to testify.

The confrontation between human rights defenders and the penitentiary system of Russia continues. Russian human rights defenders, including an adviser of the Russian president for human rights Mikhail Fedotov, were not allowed to inspect Karelian prisons.

The penitentiary system is now waiting, what decision will be taken at the top.

We believe that we will win, and we will be able to stop torture. This requires your help.

Russia has signed the European Convention of Human Rights so we hope that torture in Russia will be in attention of European human rights structures and the European Parliament.