The court dismisses the suit of the Head of Orenburg Penal Colony Settlement to the Committee Against Torture

Событие | Пресс центр

11 December 2014

Today, on 11 December 2014, the Niznhy Novgorod District Court dismissed the suit of the Head of the Penal Colony Settlement No.11 Filyus Khousainov (Orenburg region, Guberlya settlement) against the Interregional Non-governmental organization «The Committee Against Torture» to defend his honor, dignity and business reputation. Complaint of the head of the Penal Colony related to the news published on our web site «Slave labour, battery and rape in Orenburg Penal Colony Settlement No. 11». 

(Photo: Filyus Khusainov, source: http://тюрьма56.рф)

Human rights defenders started working on this situation after 26 July 2013, when Irina Balashova applied for help. According to the woman, her partner Sergey Nikonorov was trapped in unbearable and inhuman conditions created by the staff of Penal Colony (settlement) no. 11 for Orenburg region, which is headed by Filyus Khusainov: convicts were systematically subjected to ill-treatment, including threats of sexual abuse. Concerning Mr. Nikanorov, the treatment had been caused by his refusals to work at construction sites, and his forced labor complaints lodged with the Investigative Committee and the Prosecutor’s Office.

As we have previously reported, on 26 July 2013 Irina Balashova applied for help to Orenburg branch of the Committee Against Torture. She asked to conduct a public investigation and render a legal assistance based in the facts of numerous human rights violations committed by the Penal Colony No. 11 (Orenburg region, Guberlya settlement) officers against her partner Sergey Nikanorov.  

Irina informed that from April till October 2012 Sergey together with other convicts were building a sauna at the country house of the Head of the Penal Colony No.11 Filyus Khusainov, who promised Nikanorov to assist in early release on parole. However the Chairman of the Colony did not fulfill his promise and ordered Sergey to build another facility.     

According to Irina, Nikanorov refused to continue working, for that he started to be subjected to systematic «punishments», which were expressed in the following: a man was beaten by the convicts at the order of the Head of the Colony, he also was illegally put to a psychiatric hospital.

In the course of public investigation of this case more and more convicts applied to the employees of the Committee Against Torture and informed about even more appalling cases. Thus, among the convicts were K. and D. (full names are not given due to ethical reasons), who informed that they became victims of crimes committed by the Colony’s officers.  In particular, these victims told about systematic battery which they were subjected to by the officers of the Colony, as well as of sexual violence which was recorded by the administration officers using the video recorder and the process of rape was demonstrated to other convicts for horrification.

Over nine months the officers of the investigative authorities were refusing to initiate criminal proceedings and only on 6 April 2014 it was opened, however, based on most «innocent» grounds – the fact of involving the convicts in work for personal advantage of the Colony officers which is qualified based on Part 1 of Article 286 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (exceeding official authority).

In spring of this year Filyus Khusainov applied to the Nizhny Novgorod District Court with a suit to defend one’s honor, dignity and business reputation, applied to INGO «The Committee Against Torture». Mr. Husainov claimed that the statements, contained in the news article «Slave labour, battery and rape in Orenburg Penal Colony Settlement No.11», do not correspond to the facts and discredit him. «Data posted by the defendant on the web site pytkam.net undermine the authority of the company in the eyes of the community since they characterize it from the most negative side in all branches of activity», – emphasized Mr.Khusainov and evaluated his sufferings at 60 thousand roubles.   

Today the Nizhny Novgorod District Court consisting of the presiding judge Anton Simagin dismissed the above-mentioned suite, siding with the human rights defenders.

Lawyer Anton Ryzhov, representing the interests of the organization, comments today’s court decision: «As a matter of principle, it is the expected result. Back in 2008 the European Court in its decree «Dyundin against Russia» (incidentally, also based on the case from Orenburg region) emphasized that the problem of torture and abuse in police and punishment execution authorities is a matter of a public interest and concern, which means it has to be discussed, including in the media».