Who is going to be held accountable for a prisoner’s death in Orenburg?

Событие | Пресс центр

29 March 2013

“There must be justice, at least somewhere”. This is the ending of a letter received by Orenburg Regional Department of the Committee Against Torture from Abdul Jamalutdinov. The man died from a serious disease on 26 March 2013, in the medical unit of Penal Colony No. 8, Orenburg city, without seeing the triumph of justice he had sought for.

(Фото: РИА Новости)

On 26 October 2012 Marina Fedorova applied to human rights defenders, informing that her acquaintance, Abdul Jamalutdinov, a convict in Penal Colony No. 8, who had previously had several surgical operations on his cancer, was not receiving from the medical staff of the Colony the medicines prescribed by his oncologists. According to the woman, she had applied to different state bodies with requirements to stop inhuman treatment towards Jamalutdinov and to provide the appropriate medical attendance, but all that she had achieved, was total misunderstanding. For example, on 9 October 2012 the Prosecutor’s Office of Orenburg gave the following official response: “No violations found in the conduct of Penal Colony No. 8 Medical service. There are no grounds for Prosecutor’s legal action”.

Though after a fortnight, to a similar application to the The Orenburg Directorate of Federal Service on Surveillance in Healthcare, Fedorova got the opposite reply which read: “The Orenburg Directorate of Federal Service on Surveillance in Healthcare has conducted a check in Federal Government Institution Penal Colony No. 8 of the RF Federal Penitentiary Service Directorate (FKU IK-8 UFSIN RF) of Russia for Orenburg region. There were found violations of the Rules for medical attendance and treatment of prisoners… The Head of FKU IK-8 UFSIN RF has been ordered to rectify the violations found”.

Which means there existed some violations, but the Procuracy for some reason failed to discover them.

In November 2012 Abdul applied to the Committee Against Torture himself. In his letter he wrote that he had several serious diseases, including oncological ones. He was not receiving appropriate medical attendance in the colony; he was escorted to an oncology hospital for treatment, yet not in accordance with his oncologist’s instructions, but from time to time, as it was convenient for the colony administration. He had undergone an operation for surgical removal of the lower lip without general anesthesia and had never been given anesthetics after the surgery. Here is a quotation from his letter to CAT: “After the ray treatment my lower lip was putrefied, pieces falling down from it, I was dying from pain. The doctors together with administration were watching this, seeing me in that poor condition brought them pleasure which they never concealed… no one prescribed proper medicine for me, just ketorolac, but this makes it only worse for me. I told the doctors, but they wouldn’t believe me until they saw for themselves that I was experimented on, like on a rabbit”.

When conducting a check following Jamalutdinov’s application, the Committee Against Torture lawyers repeatedly requested to check the fact that Abdul was not receiving appropriate medical treatment. The requests were submitted to the Human Rights Ombudsperson for Orenburg region, to the Regional Prosecutor’s office, and to the Federal Penitentiary Service Directorate. Nevertheless, the officials of the agencies found no violations.

At present CAT lawyers are conducting a preliminary investigation into the breaches of Articles 2 and 3 of European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, allegedly committed against Jamalutdinov (“Right to life”, “Prohibition of torture and inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment”).

”It would be too early to draw definite conclusions now. But if the fact of violations of Jamalutdinov’s rights is established, we are determined to insist that a criminal case be opened and those responsible for Abdul’s death be held accountable”, says Sergey Babinets, a lawyer of the Orenburg regional office of INGO “Committee Against Torture”.