Colony #7 and Vladimir Central Prison officers. Since there have been many complaints about failures to provide access of defense lawyers to the Vladimir penal institutions of the Federal Penitentiary Service, this situation is followed up by the Presidential Council on Human Rights.
The story with repeated denials of access of defense lawyer Yuliya Chvanova to her confident Evgeny Peters was evolving in the following way. On 4 March 2019, Chvanova arrived at the Federal Penitentiary Institution Penal Colony No.7 of the Department of the Federal Penitenriary Service of Russia for the Vladimir region for meeting with Mr Peters. According to Chvanova, at the entrance of the penal colony, she was met by the female officer of the institution, who asked her about the goal of her visit, then she called the duty officer and asked the lawyer to wait. She had to wait till evening, the permit for her meeting with the convict was not being issued for the whole day, it was provided only at about 4.30 p.m., and then it was announced that the meeting with Mr Peters cannot take place due to the fact that the penal colony closes at 5 p.m.
On 6 March, lawyer Chvanova once again arrived to the penal colony to render legal assistance to Mr Peters, but the story repeated: once again she was asked to wait, but the permit was never issued. Since previously Evgeny Peters mentioned that pressure may be exerted against him at Penal Colony No.7, Yuliya Chvanova suspected the worst and started to call the Prosecutor’s Office, the Federal Penitentiary Office and the police.
As it turned out later on, her suspicions were not ungrounded. Soon, Evgeny Peters was transferred from Penal Colony No.7 to the Vladimir Central Prison, were the lawyer managed to meet him, finally. There Evgeny told that at Penal Colony No.7 he was beaten up twice: on 27 February and on 4 March, that is, exactly when his defense lawyer was waiting to meet him at the colony door for the whole day.
As Peters explained, on 27 February he was taken to the store-room, there were several colony officers there, as well as some other heavily-built convicts. “The activists” seized him and brought on the floor, which caused some bodily injuries, and the colony officers demanded that he signed papers refusing the defense lawyer’s services, threatening further troubles if he did not do that.
According to Peters, on 4 March, the colony officers once again brought him to the psychologist, as they explained. However, in the room where he was taken, there were some heavily-built convicts again, who started to beat him up, including hitting him with a rubber truncheon against the frontal area of his thighs. At some point Evgeny passed out, and when he regained consciousness, he was told that on the next day he would have to “make a report” to the institution’s officer.
On 15 March, Yuliya Chvanova applied to member of the Council under Russia’s President on Civil Society Institutions and Human Rights Igor Kalyapin with a request to personally follow-up on the situation related to Evgeny Peters battery and denial of access to him for rendering legal assistance.
Meanwhile, the defense lawyers’ access to Vladimir Central Prison was closed, as well. On 20 March, Yuliya Chvanova came for another meeting with Evgeny Peters, however, the colony officers did not let her inside, having referred to some quarantine. The same story awaited other lawyers who tried to get inside this institution: on 21 March, lawyer Ruslan Sozonov arrived there at the request of the Committee Against Torture, and he was also deprived of access to Evgeny due to quarantine. These cases of denial of access have been appealed against.
On 28 March, senior investigator of the Investigative Department for Kovrov town of the Vladimir region of the Investigative Directorate of the Investigative Committee of the RF Yuliya Balukova initiated criminal proceedings with regards to the elements of crime under part 3 of Article 286 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (“abuse of office using violence”).
In addition, there appeared positive results with regard to appealing against denials of access of lawyers to the Vladimir institutions of the Federal Penitentiary Service.
On 10 April, a petition by the public prosecutor with regard to head of the Vladimir Central Prison was issued due to denial of access of lawyers due to quarantine.
On 5 June, the Frunzensky District Court of Vladimir satisfied the lawsuit of lawyer Chvanova to the Vladimir Central Prison on declaring the denial of access to Mr Peters to be illegal.
Finally, on 6 June, the Kovrovsky City Court of the Vladimir region, after prolonged examination, declared two denials of Chvanova’s access to penal colony, that took place on 4 and 6 March, to be illegal, as well.
“Denial of access of a lawyer to his/her confidents often based on the intention to conceal the crime and its traces, which can be seen at the example of the case with Mr Peters” , – Chairman of the Committee Against Torture, member of the Human Rights Council, Igor Kalyapin commented. – Since there have been issued quite a number of similar court rulings and acts of prosecutor response with regard to the Vladimir Department of the Federal Penitentiary Service, and this does not lead to improvement of the situation, we will raise this problem to the level of the Federal Penitentiary Service superiors at the Human Rights Council and will demand to maintain order in the Vladimir penal institutions”.
As we have previously reported, on 7 May 2019, after meeting with Igor Kalyapin, the Chamber of Lawyers of the Vladimir region applied to the Human Rights Council with regard to mass denials of access to the convicts serving sentence in all the Vladimir institutions of the Federal Penitentiary Service. The lawyers provided multiple examples of violations of the federal legislation by the superiors, in particular, of the Federal Correctional Institution T-2 (the Vladimir Central Prison) and of Penal Colony No.7.