Human rights defenders from the Committee for the Prevention of Torture, made a decision to assist the investigating process and announce a bounty in the amount of three hundred thousand roubles for the information that would help to arrest Vasily Voloshin, the former head of Penal Colony No. 14 (Nizhny Novgorod region, Sukhobezvodnoe settlement). We remind that last year Voloshin was put on the federal and international wanted list with regard to the charges of committing a number of property crimes and he is still on the lam.
Penal Colony No. 14 has been in the sphere of attention of human rights activists from the Committee for the Prevention of Torture and members of Public Monitoring Committee for a long time already. For instance, in August of last year more than a hundred convicts applied to the members of Public Monitoring Committee (which monitors the compliance with the human rights at detention facilities in Nizhny Novgorod) with complaints about tortures, racketing, moral coercion. Basically, complaints of the applicants were relating to the convicts that were cooperating with the administration and actually executed power-wielding functions in the colony: they could punish convicts themselves, as well as move freely within the territory of this institution.
In September of last year the lawyers from the Committee for the Prevention of Torture started public investigation of three deaths of convicts who died in 2014 while servicing their sentence in this colony. In all cases the employees of the colony explained to the relatives of the perished convicts that they died natural deaths or that it was an accident. However, members of the Public Monitoring Committee interrogated over twenty convicts who had seen bodily injuries of the dead convicts shortly before they died, and some of them witnessed how the victims were cruelly beaten. One of the interrogated people even confessed that he was forced to hold the convict while the others were beating him. In the morning of the next day the beaten person died.
Currently the criminal cases into the facts of two deaths were suspended “due to the impossibility to determine the person subject for indictment”. The criminal case into the fact of the third death has never been opened.
For the lawyers from the Committee for the Prevention of Torture and members of Public Monitoring Committee in Nizhny Novgorod region it was crystal clear that it is the administration of the penal institution that has to be in charge of the situation established in the colony. But after the situation went beyond control and the Investigating Committee started to open criminal cases one after another head of the colony Vasily Voloshin was dismissed from his position in the Federal Penitentiary Service and managed to escape the investigating agencies. In the course of the investigation of the events that took place in Penal Colony No. 14 the investigators discovered another row of criminal episodes and obtained evidence proving that the former head of the colony had been involved in them. That provided the investigators with the grounds to put Vasily Voloshin, at first, in the federal and then in the international wanted list.