(The Nizhny Novgorod region Prosecutor Oleg Ponasenko, source of photo: http://proc-nn.ru)
This week the Nizhny Novgorod region Prosecutor Oleg Ponasenko together with Head of Chief Directorate of the regional department of the Federal Penitentiary Service Nikolay Teuschakov visited Penal Colony No.14 (Sukhovobezvodniye settlement). As we have reported, a large number of complaints have previously been submitted to the Prosecutor’s Office by the convicts of this establishment.
Oleg Ponasenko and Nikolay Teuschakov conducted a meeting with the convicts and inspected the first-aid post of the Penal Colony. In the course of conversation with the Prosecutor of the Nizhny Novgorod region the convicts complained about the tortures which had been applied to them previously, and poor quality of medical assistance and violation of their labor rights. Oleg Ponasenko pointed out that recently his institution received a large number of complaints from this penal colony, he also added that in the nearest future all the convicts’ applications will be responded to, and if necessary – measures of the Prosecutor’s control will be implemented.
No Investigative Committee officers were inspecting the colony.
Member of the Public Monitoring Commission for monitoring the human rights observance in the detention facilities for the Nizhny Novgorod region Dmitry Utukin: «We welcome the decision of the regional Prosecutor and new head of the regional department of the Federal Penitentiary Service to find time in their busy schedules to listen to the convicts complaints in person. Previously we repeatedly brought the attention of law-enforcement agencies to the situation developed in the colony, and we hope that now the revealed facts of lawbreaking will be adequately evaluated. However, we are deeply disturbed by the prolonged silence of the officers of the Investigative Committee of Russia. We submitted over a hundred applications of the convicts based on the facts of crimes. Some of the convicts confessed to have been forced to take part in tortures, some stated that they witnessed murders. However, neither we nor the applicants have received any substantial answer since 20 August. None of the witnesses of crimes were questioned by the Investigative Committee officers. It is only from our words that the relatives of the convicts who died in the colony in 2014 became aware that criminal cases were opened based on these facts. I would like to point out that as early as in April 2015 we submitted the testimonies of the convicts who were subjected to torture in the colony, however this inspection material was simply lost by the officers of the Semenovsky Interdistrict Investigative Department».