General Prosecutor’s Office will check the progress of investigations of tortures and violent deaths in the Nizhny Novgorod penal colony


10 September 2018

Lawyers with the Committee Against Torture applied to the General Prosecutor’s Office of Russia with a request to check the efficiency of the work of the investigators from Nizhny Novgorod with regard to the investigation of criminal cases on violent deaths and the check of numerous complaints of convicts in Penal Colony No.14 of the Nizhny Novgorod region. According to human rights defenders, poor performance of the investigative authorities on all these complaints requires a reaction of the supervisory authority.

Only for the period from 2011 to 2015, 184 complaints from convicts of Penal Colony #14 (Nizhny Novgorod region, Sukhovobezvodnoye settlement) were received by the Committee Against Torture and the Public Monitoring Committee for control of human rights observance at penal institutions, as well as from the victims’ relatives based on facts of tortures, sexual violence, extortions, psychological pressure against them by other convicts who acted upon orders or with knowledge of head of penal colony Vasily Voloshin, or with his direct involvement.

At the present time, lawyers with the Committee Against Torture represent the victims’ interests on several materials of checks and three criminal cases, initiated based on facts of violent deaths and batteries of convicts in Penal Colony No.14.

In December 2017 and January 2018 human rights defenders informed the superiors of the Investigative Department of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation for the Nizhny Novgorod region about inefficient work of investigators for these cases during personal appointments. Following these appointments, criminal cases on deaths of Aleksandr Kalyakin and Aleksandr Kulemin were withdrawn from the proceedings of the Semenovsky Interdistrict Investigative Department and handed over for further investigation to regional investigative department.

However, the investigative authorities’ work for any of the cases where human rights represent the victims’ interests can’t be called effective, still. Checking activities and preliminary investigation are conducted with significant violations, which are not timely rectified. After many years passed, for none of the above mentioned cases not a single penal colony administration officer was brought to criminal responsibility.

“Investigative Committee had enough time to conduct comprehensive, objective and full-fledged check for each of the torture reports in Penal Colony No.14. However, for reasons, unknown to us, the cases have never been brought to logical end, – lawyer with the Committee Against Torture Sergey Shounin comments. – Today we applied to head of Chief Directorate for Supervision of Investigation, Inquest and Operational Investigations of the General Prosecutor Office of Russia Valery Maksimenko. We think that time has come for the Prosecutor’s Office bodies to demand from the Investigative Department of the Nizhny Novgorod region to conduct efficient investigation for each of the torture complaints and violent deaths in this penal colony”.
As we have previously reported, in June 2015, after the check which revealed “the facts of violations in official activity”, head of Penal Colony No. 14 Vasily Voloshin was dismissed from office. On 16 July 2015, criminal case was initiated against him, and in October of the same year Vasily Voloshin was added to the federal, and later on, to the international wanted lists on a charge of committing a number of crimes against property.

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