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MURMANSK, October 9 (Itar-Tass) - The Murmansk branch of the Federal Penitentiary Service (UFSIN) denied the statement by Greenpeace lawyers alleging "inhuman prison conditions in which Greenpeace activists are kept at a remand war in the province. The lawyers also claimed the activists were in dire need of warmth, drinking water, contacts with their relatives and vegetarian dishes.
"The remand wards of the Murmansk region are operated strictly in line with the federal law on custody of suspected criminals and other legal acts," Boris Chernov, acting UFSIN director's aide for human rights told Itar-Tass.
"Under prison regulations, all the suspects and accused are provided with potable water. Aside from three meals a day, they are entitled to soft drinks such as stewed fruit and at least a glass of boiled water. If necessary, they can use filters to purify tap water," Chernov said.
Each cell has a lavatory where privacy is observed. A video monitoring system is only installed in the special block so the lawyers' privacy breach allegations are groundless, the FSIN official said.
Phone calls are allowed upon written permission by the person or body handing the criminal case, or by a court. The detainees have regular contacts with consuls of their countries and lawyers.
"Foreigners are kept at Murmansk's remand prison # 1 under the same conditions as Russian citizens. Food norms are set by regulations and special meals for suspects are not envisioned by the remand prison budget.
If the Greenpeace activists require a different diet they can receive products they require in parcels; this procedure, too, is regulated by effective laws, according to Chernov.
On September 18, Greenpeace activists aboard the Arctic Sunrise vessel flying a Dutch flag approached the Prirazlomnaya oil rig and attempted to land on it. They were stopped by Russian border guards. The vessel was towed to the port of Murmansk. The Russian authorities opened a piracy case.
All the 30 Greenpeace activists were placed under arrest for two months, per ruling by the Lenin district court of Murmansk. All have been charged within the case.