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It's been three weeks since we published Ildar Dadin's letter. What has happened with the prisoners at penal colony number 7 since?

Meduza
12:47, 22 november 2016

Entrance to the solitary confinement chamber at penal colony number 7

Photo: Pavel Chikov

On November 21, Karelia's Ministry of Internal Affairs launched an investigation into a fight between prisoner Ildar Dadin and his cellmate at penal colony number 7. As a result, a criminal case may soon be initiated against Dadin, who whose letter we published on torture at the colony. Meantime, the activist himself, who is serving a sentence for staging one-man protests, has refused to undergo a medical examination by an independent doctor. He has also still not be given a lie detector test to verify his story on torture. Meduza shares what has happened to Ildar Dadin since his letters from prison were published.

Ildar Dadin has still not been given a lie detector test, though a motion to this effect was issued by an investigator on November 10, according to Dadin's lawyer Alexei Liptser. Karelia's branch of Russia's Investigative Committee has refused to explain why the test has not yet been given and both Russia's Federal Penitentiary Service and its Karelian Branch refused to speak to Meduza. On November 11, Vitaly Fefelov, a spokesman for the Karelian of Russia's Federal Penitentiary Service, said that Dadin refused to undergo a polygraph test. In reality, Dadin said that he is ready to take test, but only in the presence of a lawyer.

On November 12, the activist was visited by independent doctor Vasiliy Generalov, but refused to undergo a medical examination. According to Dadin's wife Anastasia Zotova, Nikolay Zboroshenko (Dadin's lawyer in the European Court of Human Rights), who came to the colony along with Generalov, was not allowed to enter. As a result, Dadin decided that he would refuse the examination, because he suspected foul play. According to Zotova, Dadin's condition has worsened: he "stutters, pants, his hands are shaking." Generalov, in turn, noted that Dadin's had no signs of damage.

On November 14, penal colony head Sergey Kossiev had returned from vacation. He was when Dadin's letter on torture was published on November 1. Kossiev refused to speak to Meduza. An Investigative Committee investigation is ongoing.

On, November 17, Karelia's branch of Russia's Federal Penitentiary Service stated that Dadin had had a fight with a fellow inmate. According to the service, Dadin suffered an abrasion as a result of the incident, while his cellmate suffered numerous head injuries.

On November 21, it became known that the Karelian branch of Russia's Ministry of Interior would investigate the question of Dadin's fight. The Ministry's press service said that Dadin may be prosecuted for "beating" and "intentionally inflicting bodily harm" on another. According to Zotova, it was Dadin's cellmate who had instigated the fight. She suggested that the prisoner may have been one who cooperate with the administration of the colony. Zotova believes that a criminal case will soon be opened against her husband under the pretext of this fight, but will, in reality, be launched because he revealed the fact that was being tortured in prison.

Two other prisoners at penal colony number 7 also spoke about torture. According Anton Drozdov, the coordinator of human rights project Gulagu.net, the prisoners in question were Zelimkhan Geliskhanov and Anzor Mamaev. Mamaev also spoke of torture to Russia's Human Rights Commissioner Tatyana Moskalkova during her visit to Ildar Dadin. After this, Mamaev was transferred from the penal colony number 7 to neighboring colony number 1, where, according to him, the torture continued. Former and current prisoners have spoken to Meduza, Mediazona, and ATS-info about torture. In total, there are seven accounts serving as evidence that the torture of prisoners at penal colony number 7 is systemic in nature. On November 22, the mothers of the prisoners at penal colony number 7 addressed President Vladimir Putin with a request to "personally take control of the correctional facility."