CSO of the Week: Public Verdict Foundation exposes torture in Yaroslavl penal colony.

Week-ending 26 February 2021

This week Novaya gazeta publicised a video obtained by the Public Verdict Foundation, a leading Russian human rights organisation, showing prisoners being tortured in Penal Colony No. 1 in Yaroslavl region. One of the victims of torture subsequently died on account of the torture to which he had been subjected in a hospital in Rybinsk. The death of the victim, that occurred in 2017, has not been investigated by the authorities. A second video from 2016 shows the torture of a prisoner who was to be released in two weeks’ time. The victim survived and was subsequently released.

Public Verdict Foundation was established in February 2004 as a non-profit, non-partisan organisation offering legal assistance to victims of human rights abuse at the hands of law enforcement officers in Russia. The founders of Public Verdict include prominent Russian human rights groups and charitable organizations, such as the International Memorial Society, the Moscow Helsinki Group, Open Russia the Democracy Foundation (the Alexander  N. Yakovlev Foundation), and the Russian Regions Foundation. Public Verdict Foundation works to promote a climate of intolerance to abusive law enforcement practices in the Russian society, and to ensure civilian oversight of the law enforcement. The Foundation informs the wide public on the situation with human rights violations committed by the law enforcement.


Public Verdict Foundation website

«Тут, конечно, крыть уже нечем», Novaya gazeta, 23 February 2021

The Moscow Times, 23 February 2021: New video footage claiming to show the brutal torture of Russian inmates, one of whom died shortly after the footage was filmed, has surfaced, the independent Novaya Gazeta newspaper reported on Tuesday. Novaya Gazeta says the two videos came from the same prison colony where gruesome leaked footage of guards torturing inmates sparked a national scandal and arrests of prison officials in 2018. They are the eighth and ninth videos of torture to surface from Yaroslavl region Penal Colony-1, the newspaper said.

Other news:

RFE/RL, 25 February 2021: Russia’s Federal Penitentiary Service (FSIN) says investigations have been launched against an unspecified number of guards at a prison in Siberia following reports about the brutal torture of inmates. The FSIN said on February 25 that probes were also begun against 10 inmates who allegedly tortured Tahirjon Bakiev, adding that it had yet to confirm the incidents were motivated by his ethnicity. Gulagu.net human rights group reported in December and then again this month about two other cases of torture at correctional facilities in Irkutsk. The groups said that one inmate, Kezhik Ondar, was raped by inmates in Detention Center No. 1 in Irkutsk. Ondar suffered severe internal injuries in the attack and is now disabled. The second inmate, whom Gulagu.net identified as Bakiev, was raped after inmates beat him and desecrated a Koran in front of him. He was then kept under a cell bed for two days. The penitentiary administration allegedly then prevented him from sharing his ordeal with his wife, Anastasia Bakieva, and other relatives by not allowing him to call home for more than one month.

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