The state will pay 60 thousand rubles to a former convict for failure to render medical assistance at the Nizhny Novgorod Penal Colony No.14


15 July 2020
Lawyer with the Committee Against Torture Sergey Shounin and victim Aleksandr Pronin

Yesterday, on 14 July 2020, the Nizhny Novgorod Regional Court upheld the ruling of the court of the first instance on awarding Aleksandr Pronin with sixty thousand rubles as a compensation for moral damage related to failure to provide an adequate medical assistance during serving his time at the penal colony. Lawyers with the Committee Against Torture will appeal against this ruling in the part of the size of the compensation.

As we have previously reported, on 25 December 2018, Aleksandr Pronin applied to the Committee Against Torture for legal assistance. According to him, during serving his sentence at Penal Colony No.14 (Nizhny Novgorod region, Sukhovobezvodnoye settlement), he was repeatedly beaten up by other convicts who were acting at the instructions of former head of this colony Vasily Voloshin. In total, Aleksandr Pronin reported three episodes when physical force was illegally applied against him. But the case which became the most severe for his health happened on 5 February 2015, when a supply manager and a person on duty hung him on an improvised strappado, having twisted his arms out of the joints.

According to Pronin, in all the three cases medics in the colony refused to treat him and record his injuries. According to him, up to his release in 2019, he was constantly facing either with refusal to provide him with a medical treatment or with medical support of inadequate quality.

With regard to this, when he was still at the penal colony, Aleksandr Pronin submitted a lawsuit on a compensation of moral and physical damage against the medical sanitary unit of the Nizhny Novgorod region (FGHI Occupational Health Facility No.52 of the Federal Penitentiary Service of Russia) and against the Federal Penitentiary Service of Russia. Subsequently, lawyers with the Committee Against Torture represented his interests in court.

In the course of the examination of this lawsuit by the court, medical forensic expert examination was assigned. In their extensive conclusion the experts registered over forty episodes of failure to provide treatment to Pronin: including absence of timely treatment of dislocations of shoulder-joints, violation of timelines of planned hospitalization, which resulted in steady forming of shoulder-joints’ habitual dislocation.

These and other violations confirmed the justification of claims which Pronin raised against the medics and the superiors of Penal Colony No.14.

On 5 February 2020, judge of the Sovetsky District Court Svetlana Tolmacheva partially satisfied claims under the lawsuit of Aleksandr Pronin, having obliged the Federal Penitentiary Service of Russia to pay him sixty thousand rubles as a compensation for moral damage out of the claimed one million seven hundred thousand. Claims under the lawsuit in the part of damage compensation were dismissed. In the opinion of the court, “the applicant’s claims in this part are not specific, but rather generic”.

Yesterday, on 14 July 2020, the Nizhny Novgorod Regional Court upheld this ruling of the court of the first instance.

“Unfortunately, yesterday’s court hearing passed without either the plaintiff or myself, as his representative – the court invited us by twelve o’clock, but the hearing was erroneously held at ten. The court apologized to the plaintiff and us for this error. We shall definitely find out who exactly committed it. But due to this disorderliness the plaintiff was deprived of his right to present his opinion and put in some important additional evidence, – lawyer with the Committee Against Torture Sergey Shounin, representing the interests of Aleksandr Pronin, comments. – We shall also appeal against this court ruling in the part of the established amount of compensation. What is sixty thousand for a person, who was registered with eight illnesses during his stay at the penal colony and who will have to undergo most complicated surgeries on both shoulder joints, and treatment of severe forms of gastritis, pancreatitis and gastric erosion is required – these illnesses developed due to permanent necessity to take anaesthetic drugs. And one of these days the victim lived through a real shock, because additional examination confirmed the presence of hepatitis and HIV, which, according to the conclusions of official medical forensic examination and attending medical doctors, Aleksandr Pronin was infected with during his stay at Penal Colony No.14”.

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