Today the Interregional Committee against Torture received an official report of the Public Monitoring Commission exercising public control over human rights observance in detention facilities and supporting prisoners and detainees in Nizhny Novgorod region (PMC) prepared in connection with the allegations that in IK-11Chechens are persecuted by the prison administration. The PMC check has shown that the allegations of massive human rights violations are not true.
At the end of April 2009 some internet newspapers wrote that the rights of Chechens serving their sentence in penal facility IK-11 located in Nizhny Novgorod region were systematically violated.
On 28 April 2009the Public Monitoring Commission exercising public control over human rights observance in detention facilities and supporting prisoners and detainees in Nizhny Novgorod region (PMC) formed a task force in order to check that information.
When visiting the colony the Commission members examined the penal colony territory, living quarters of sections 2 and 5, quarantine wards, punitive isolation cells, cell-type rooms, rooms for those kept on remand, medical unit, gym, increased security unit.
The task force talked to inmates of Chechen nationality. It turned out that all of them were former law enforcement agents from the Chechen Republic who had committed grave crimes. In IK-11 they were kept in the increased security unit because they regularly breached the internal code of conduct. According to the prisoners, they did not deny the fact of misbehaviour and explained its essence: they were obliged to clean the living quarters and sanitary facilities in the order of rotation which they systematically defied. They motivated their refusal to perform that kind of work by saying that it was degrading for Chechens and confirmed their intention to go on doing so. All three prisoners told the commission members that they had not been abused either by the administration or by other inmates. Some of them had overcast cuts on the backside of their forearms. The prisoners that the task force questioned explained that they had tried to show their remonstrance to the administration by inflicting injuries upon themselves. They also stated that they wanted to serve their sentence in the Chechen Republic or near the place of their relatives’ residence.
The task force studied the injuries and medical aid log in the medical unit. The information in the medical log confirmed the fact that some prisoners had received medical aid on 31 December 2008. The prisoners were diagnosed with multiple forearm cuts. One of them also had multiple stomach skin cuts. According to the medical staff, the cuts did not pose a threat to the prisoners’ lives and health and, most likely, had been inflicted by the prisoners themselves in order to simulate a suicide attempt.
At present the task force continues the check.
However, right now we can say that the requests for nationality based privileges expressed by some prisoners of IK-11 are unlawful. Moreover, if the colony administration decided to grant those privileges to convicts of certain nationality, the decision would be contrary to law and would violate the rights of other prisoners and amount to discrimination on the ground of nationality.
A.N. Listkov – Commission chairman;