The number of complaints against the institutions of the Federal Penitentiary Service has increased in almost half of the regions of Russia

The publication noted that in 17 Russian regions the number of complaints against the FSIN system has decreased, the commissioners in more than ten subjects have not yet published annual reports. Appeals were received from the defendants and convicts themselves, as well as from their relatives, lawyers and human rights activists, follows from the published data.

According to the report, in 2021, 232 people wrote to the Ombudsman for the Vladimir Region with complaints about the institutions of the Federal Penitentiary Service, which is five times higher than in the previous year. The number of such appeals to the commissioners in the Nizhny Novgorod Region and the Altai Republic has doubled. The number of complaints increased in the Irkutsk Region, Altai and Kamchatka Territories, as well as in the Novosibirsk Region, the Republic of Mari El, the Ryazan Region and other regions.

The number of appeals regarding human rights in the penitentiary system to the federal ombudsman in 2021 exceeded 5,800, which is 20% more than a year earlier, RBC reports with reference to the press service of the Commissioner for Human Rights Tatyana Moskalkova. Most of the complaints – 1288 – relate to medical care.

Problems with medical care

The authorized representative in St. Petersburg said that he was approached about a long wait for an examination by doctors and an examination to establish disability. In an appeal, a suspect from SIZO-1 said that he had been walking with a 12-centimeter metal pin for three months until it damaged his stomach. The report of the commissioner in the Ivanovo region indicated that facts were revealed when the convicts did not undergo the necessary examinations. In addition, palliative care is not provided in the institutions of the Federal Penitentiary Service of the region, the report says.

In the medical institutions of the Federal Penitentiary Service of the Rostov region there is a shortage of personnel: places remain vacant for a long time, the regional commissioner noted. As of December 2021, in 13 branches of the medical units of correctional colonies and pre-trial detention centers of the Federal Penitentiary Service in the Rostov Region, more than 50 vacancies for doctors and paramedical specialists remained unfilled. A similar situation is noted in the reports of almost all regions.

Doctors working in penitentiary institutions are often fired due to low salaries, the Ombudsman for the Chelyabinsk region noted. According to him, employees of the medical units of the Federal Penitentiary Service cannot participate in the Zemsky Doctor, Zemsky Paramedic programs and receive payments provided for them in the region.

As Ksenia Runova, a junior researcher at the Institute for Law Enforcement Problems, told RBC, there are problems with the removal of suspects or convicts to civilian medical facilities due to a lack of convoys and a complex system of approvals. In addition, there is a limited list of drugs for people in FSIN facilities, which can also make treatment difficult. According to Runova, such appeals can be received if violence was used against a person, and the doctors described the injuries not as they actually look.

Complaints about violence

The second most popular reason for contacting the federal ombudsman is complaints about the actions of FSIN employees. In 2021, 1247 such applications were received by Moskalkova. 224 of them concerned the unlawful use of force, another 143 – ill-treatment and torture.

With complaints of torture against 90 convicts in 2021, they turned to the Ombudsman for the Irkutsk region. According to the applicants, the prisoners were raped, deprived of sleep and food, systematically beaten, subjected to electric shocks, abused, hung up and mutilated. The Commissioner noted in the report that the FSIN employees are not interested in identifying such violations, since this affects the assessment of performance.

In the Krasnoyarsk Territory, most of the torture, judging by the statements, was carried out with the aim of forcing people to write a confession, the regional ombudsman noted. Moreover, complaints were received about violence both from the staff of the Federal Penitentiary Service, and from other people who ended up in the penitentiary system. “Finding out the truth in these kinds of cases is difficult. Most often, the situation arises “the word of an employee against the word of a citizen,” the Ombudsman wrote.

Video of torture and rape

In the fall of 2021, the Gulagu.net project started publication of a video archive of torture and rape of convicts in Russian colonies. Project founder Vladimir Osechkin claims that human rights activists have about 40 GB of such materials. After the publication of records from the Saratov tuberculosis hospital of the Federal Penitentiary Service No. 1, 12 criminal cases were initiated on the fact of torture.

Saratov Ombudsman Nadezhda Sukhova devoted only two pages of her report to the problem of torture. She described the measures that were taken after the publication of videos of torture: inspection of the colony by employees of the central office of the Federal Penitentiary Service, the receipt by the prosecutor’s office of complaints from convicts, and the submission of a draft law on torture to the State Duma. “The results of the activities of the Commissioner for 2021 in the direction of protecting the rights of convicts show a number of problems and unresolved issues,” Sukhova said in the report.

She proposed to introduce an anonymous survey of the accused and convicted about torture and violence, as well as to work to improve the legal literacy of the Federal Penitentiary Service.

Gulagu.net also published other videos allegedly showing torture and rape in other regions of the Federal Penitentiary Service: Transbaikalia, Kamchatka, Belgorod and Omsk regions. However, in the reports of the commissioners for the Trans-Baikal Territory and Kamchatka, the topic of violence is not touched upon.

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