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Russian protesters file class-action lawsuit over conditions in special detention center

Source: Kommersant

On Thursday, April 29, Moscow’s Zamoskvoretsky Court will receive a class-action lawsuit against the Russian Interior Ministry demanding compensation for the inhumane conditions in the Sakhorovo special detention center, reports Kommersant. 

The 20 plaintiffs behind the claim were arrested during this winter’s rallies in support of jailed Kremlin critic Alexey Navalny. The protesters were sent to the special detention center in Sakhorovo, a village on the outskirts of Moscow, to serve out administrative sentences. 

The lawsuit lists upwards of ten violations of the detainees’ rights while they were in official custody, including violations of human dignity, and a lack of medical care, hygiene products, and places to sleep.

Each of the plaintiffs is seeking 90,400 rubles (approximately $1,200) in damages, which brings the claim’s total amount to 1.8 million rubles (about $24,000).

According to the plaintiffs’ lawyer, Dmitry Piskunov from OVD-Info, the rights group received complaints about the inhumane conditions at the Sakhorovo detention center from a total of 213 people who were arrested at the protests. Had all of these people joined the class-action suit, the Interior Ministry would have faced a 19-million-ruble ($255,000) claim. 

One of the paragraphs of the lawsuit is connected to the “violation of human dignity.” This refers to the “holes in the floor in place of a toilet” and the surveillance cameras installed there. “The presence of such cameras [has] a maximum impact, plus there are other people nearby, no barriers,” Valentina Peregudova, who spent seven days in Sakharovo for blocking roads, told Kommersant. “I was brought there on Monday, but I was allowed to wash only on Saturday. For the first three days we used gauze instead of toilet paper. The worst part is that they took us there allegedly for violating the sanitary regime, and no one gave us a single mask the entire time, the guards also walked around without masks.”

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