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Russia launches probe into reports on torture against opposition activist in penal colony

November 01, 2016, 16:20 UTC+3 MOSCOW

Opposition activist Ildar Dadin, who is the first person sentenced to a prison term in Russia for participation in unauthorized protests, has in letter written that he had been tortured and abused

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© Stanislav Krasilnikov/ITAR-TASS

MOSCOW, November 1. /TASS/. Russia’s Investigative Committee said on Tuesday it had launched a probe after mass media reported that jailed opposition activist Ildar Dadin was subjected to torture in a penal colony in Karelia, northwestern Russia.

The checks are carried out into "publications in mass media on the use of torture against a convict who is serving his sentence in the IK-7 penal colony," the local investigative department told TASS.

In a letter, published by the mass media, Dadin writes that he was tortured and abused by the personnel in the colony in the Segezhsky district of Karelia. Russia’s prison authority, the Federal Penitentiary Service, has also launched its own investigation.

Dadin is the first person sentenced in Russia for violation of Article 212.1 of the Russian criminal code (repeated violations of the rules of public gatherings). In December 2015, Moscow’s Basmanny court found Dadin guilty of four episodes of participation in unauthorized protests in 2014 in downtown Moscow. Dadin was sentenced to three years in a penal colony, and then the Moscow City Court decided to cut his jail term to two and a half years.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said earlier in the day that Russian President Vladimir Putin would be informed of the situation with Dadin. "Certainly, this case deserves very careful attention, first of all, of course, of relevant bodies, and in this case this is the Federal Penitentiary Service," he added.

Prosecutors in Karelia have also launched checks into complaints of the jailed activist.

"The checks are ongoing. We will look into everything what he wrote about," Prosecutor Igor Khrapchenkov told TASS, giving no details on when the results of the investigation will be announced.

Representatives of the prosecution, who oversee the compliance with the laws in penal colonies, regularly visit the facility where Dadin is serving his sentence, he said, adding that they are currently there.

Russian human rights commissioner Tatyana Moskalkova said she had received photos of Dadin that have "no signs of beatings." The regional department of the Federal Penitentiary Service has not confirmed that Dadin was beaten or received threats, she added.

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