MOSCOW, December 6 (Itar-Tass) — Members of the presidential council for human rights and civil society development /SPCh/ who visited the Kopeisk penitentiary where a riot had been staged, claimed that inmates had been subjected to exquisite tortures there.
SPCh chief Mikhail Fedotov said rights activists had found evidence supporting the inmates' complaints. "People were kept in punitive ward for months and years, not 15 days as regulations state. As an example, he told about one of the inmates who had been convoyed to the penitentiary in May had been kept in a punitive ward since. "There was also a person who could only crawl, his legs had failed; he had been in a punitive ward for months," Fedotov told a news conference at the Itar-Tass news agency on Thursday.
On top of that, SPCh members claimed the inmates had been tortured. "One of them was spread-eagled on a grate, a helmet with earpieces was put on his head, and then they turned on the siren," Council member Maxim Shevchenko stated.
He compared IK-6 /the Kopeisk penitentiary/ with a concentration camp. "We saw a beautifully organized concentration camp; we saw a glittering park, a luxurious church and marble, but there was hell behind the facade.
According to SPCh member Igor Kalyapin, the prison conditions were "individual" depending on whether the inmates' relatives could provide financial assistance to the prison.
Certain officials not only "violated citizens 'rights but also committed crimes." As for the inmates' actions, what happened at IK-6 was not a mutiny - "not a single tooth has been knocked out, not a single room has been captured," Kalyapin said.
The SPCh drew attention to the use of inmates' slave labor. Fedotov said inmates' wages ranged from 24.38 roubles to 35.47 roubles according to prison documents. Meanwhile, the penitentiary turns out excellent furniture and top quality souvenirs.
SPCh members also claimed the prosecutors had not responded to inmates' complaints and even forwarded their letters to the prison administration, whereupon those who complained were severely beaten.
Fedotov earlier promised to draw a report for the head of state on "system measures to rectify the situation at Federal Penitentiary Service facilities." The SPCh and FSIN are planning to sign a cooperation accord in the near future.
On Wednesday, searches at the penitentiary found a large arsenal of knives and sabers made by inmates.
"The invstigators retrieved a large number of knives and sabers produced on the premises of the penitentiary, although it has no permission to manufacture such products. Also, they found a large amount of household equipment and valuables that were not on the inventory, whose origin is yet to be ascertained. Financial documents have been retrieved," the press service of the regional SK department said.
On November 24, a 500-strong group of inmates at penitentiary # 6 refused to obey the demands by the prison administration and insisted on easing the regulations. The regional SK department launched a pre-investigation check. The inmates demand was backed by their relatives who had come to the penitentiary to lend support. Eight special task force police were injured when breaking up the illegal rally, the authorities reported.
The SK opened five criminal cases over riots in the maximum security penitentiary in Kopeisk, Chelyabinsk region, and use of violence on special task force police, SK spokesman Vladimir Markin told Tass.
One criminal case was opened over extortion of money from inmates by prison personnel under threats of violence," the spokesman said.
An SK group for the Chelyabinsk region that worked at the Kopeisk prison, took more than 120 reports from inmates, many of which tell about extortion by prison staff of the sums ranging from 5,000 to 90,000 roubles in the period from 2008 through November 2012, under the threat of creating hard prison conditions or use of physical violence," the SK said.