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Tolokonnikova’s report on abuse in colony partly confirmed

September 30, 2013, 18:23 UTC+3
Data on working three Sundays a month has been confirmed by testimony of convicts and colony’s administration
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Photo ITAR-TASS/Stanislav Krasilnikov

Photo ITAR-TASS/Stanislav Krasilnikov

MOSCOW, September 30. (ITAR-TASS). Details from convicted Pussy Riot member Nadezhda Tolokonnikova about human rights violations in the colony have been partly confirmed.

As follows from the report on the visit to the penal colony #14 (PC-14), where Tolokonnikova is serving her sentence, a member of the Presidential Council for Civil Society Institutions and Human Rights (HRC) Ilya Shablinski confirmed data on overworking at the garments manufacture. “Evidence on overwork of 4 or 6 hours has been confirmed by the testimony of several inmates. Data on working three Sundays a month has been confirmed by testimony of convicts and colony’s administration," the document says.

In this regard, Shablinski proposed the Council to address the Minister of Justice with a recommendation to adopt a legal act completely prohibiting overtimes and replacement of weekends (Sundays) by workdays in correctional facilities.

Evidence of threats, beatings and abuse by the administration of the colony was not obtained. "Despite a number of received complaints over threats, beatings and harassment by the administration of the colonies (PC-2 and PC-13), which took place during 2011-2012, I have to admit that there is no sufficient evidence to initiate criminal cases against specific individuals at present," he said. However, Shablinski offers Russia’s Investigative Committee to inspect the circumstances that led to the amputation of a leg and two fingers of one of the convicts. According to the information received, the reason for this was supposedly leaving the condemned in the cold in front of the group’s building.

Regarding the beatings in the PC-14, the report referred to the testimony about beating from one of the convicts in the unit number 3, but the document does not contain any conclusions.

As for the living conditions of the convicts at the PC-14, the report notes that the premises units have new plumbing, toilets and bidets installed. "In fact, we saw a series of brand new toilets and, most importantly, cabins with lockable doors. I counted 10-12 stalls. Some toilets worked properly - the water went down. There was one bidet per each large bathroom", Shablinski said.

Member of the HRC Elena Masuk told Itar-Tass that she would prepare her report, however, declined to comment prior to its publication.

Manwhile, member of the HRC and the Public Chamber of Russia Maria Kannabikh also visited the colony and told Itar-Tass that "the problem of overtimes would not be solved by an order of the Ministry of Justice." "Labor legislation, of course, must be respected everywhere. But we must understand that a large number of convicts are out of work and overtimes are connected with urgent orders, which some of the colonies’ managers were able to get," she explained. Kannabikh also said that she didn’t received claims on tortures from convicts.

Discussion of the results of the HRC’s visit to the PC-14 is planned on October 3 at a meeting of the Council. Members of the working group that visited the PC-14 will meet October 1.

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