Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Navalny’s hell on earth – torture, beatings and deaths are part of everyday life in the prison camp


The Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny has been sentenced to imprisonment in a general prison camp. These are not in the worst category, yet even parts of the Russian government compared them to the infamous gulags.

Exterior view of a prison camp in Krasnokamensk, near the Chinese border.

Photo: Keystone

Alexei Navalny is threatened with new dangers in the prison camp after the murder attack on him with the chemical warfare agent Novichok. The prominent critic of Kremlin chief Vladimir Putin is said to spend at least two years and eight months in one of these dreaded prisons.

She is afraid for the 44-year-old’s life, said the human rights activist Olga Romanova from the prisoner aid organization Russia Behind Bars (Rus Sidjashschaja) after the judge’s verdict. Russia’s penal camps are notorious for brute force, torture – and death.

Alexei Navalny after being sentenced to three years in a penal colony.  (February 2, 2021)

Alexei Navalny after being sentenced to three years in a penal colony. (February 2, 2021)

Photo: Keystone

Even parts of the Russian government compared the “inhuman” conditions with the Gulag – the penal camps in the days of the Soviet dictator Josef Stalin (1879-1953).

Putin opponent supports Putin opponents

Many celebrities have reported on their experiences there, such as Putin’s opponent Mikhail Khodorkovsky, who spent many years in a penal colony – and is campaigning for Navalny’s release. He described it as a courageous step that the opposition member returned to Russia despite the threat of imprisonment after he had recovered from the poison attack in Germany. The former oligarch, who once fell out with Putin, also said that Navalny could still have years of imprisonment due to further criminal proceedings.
Read also:
The rules of the game for Kremlin critics have changed dramatically, such as Essay on Russia’s handling of the opposition.

Former oil magnate Mikhail Khodorkovsky in a cell in a prison camp in Siberia in 2005.  He sat for alleged fraud and tax evasion.

Former oil magnate Mikhail Khodorkovsky in a cell in a prison camp in Siberia in 2005. He sat for alleged fraud and tax evasion.

Photo: Keystone

“Torture, beatings and deaths” were part of everyday life in the prison camps, reported the action artist Nadezhda Tolokonnikova from the Moscow punk band Pussy Riot. She and her bandmate Maria Aljochina were sentenced to two years in a prison camp in 2012 for protesting against Putin in a punk prayer in a church. In her book “Instructions for a Revolution” Tolokonnikova told soberly and in haunting pictures of the slave-like exploitation in the penal system.

Nowhere in Europe are there more people in prisons

According to the authorities, around half a million people are in prison in Russia. Nowhere else in Europe are there, according to prisoner statistics from the Council of Europe, of which Russia is a member, more people behind bars when it comes to the number of prisoners per 100,000 inhabitants. In the largest country in the world by area, charges almost always mean a guilty verdict.

Political prisoners like Navalny also come to these prison camps – from the perspective of human rights activists, often not because of real crimes, but because of their anti-government stance. The activist Tolokonnikova, for example, experienced working days as a seamstress of police uniforms in the “IK-14” camp in Mordovia from 7.30 a.m. to 0.30 a.m. – with only one day off a month. Systematic lack of sleep, bad food, cold and dirty cells should break the prisoners as quickly as possible, as she held. According to official information, wages are less than four euros per day.

To die in the camp hospital

“Hundreds of people with HIV worked 16 hours a day and destroyed what was left of their immune system. They were taken to the camp hospital to die – so that they would not spoil the colony statistics with their corpses, ”noted Tolokonnikova.

Nadeschda Tolokonnikowa on the courtyard walk in the prison camp.

Nadeschda Tolokonnikowa on the courtyard walk in the prison camp.

Photo: Screenshot Izvestia.ru

After their release at the end of 2013, the musicians from Pussy Riot founded the aid organization Zona Prawa (Zone of Justice). Tolokonnikova is particularly committed, as she once told the German Press Agency, to women who, after long abuse, resisted domestic violence and killed their husbands to save their own lives.

Many of the Russian women's camps have their own children's homes.  Here a prisoner in Krasnoyarsk is playing with her child.  (July 2007)

Many of the Russian women’s camps have their own children’s homes. Here a prisoner in Krasnoyarsk is playing with her child. (July 2007)

Photo: Reuters

How brutal things can get in the prison camps was described early on by the Nobel Prize laureate Alexander Solzhenitsyn (1918-2008) in his work «The Gulag Archipelago». But even 30 years after the end of the communist tyranny, according to human rights activists, nothing has fundamentally changed. The Memorial organization collects eyewitness accounts. Even in documentaries, survivors often tearfully tell of arbitrariness and draconian punishments, of rape, hunger and epidemics.

Relatives write pleading letters to Putin

The Kremlin-critical newspaper Novaya Gazeta reported several times that relatives of brutally abused or even killed prisoners repeatedly pleaded with President Putin to take action against “sadistic prison guards”. But lawyers, human rights activists, the organization Russia without Torture (Rossija bes Pytok) and Russia behind bars complain that these complaints usually have no consequences for the aforementioned tormentors.

Relatives of inmates - as well as demonstrators like here in Düsseldorf - would like the situation to be reversed after President Putin almost never answers their pleading letters.

Relatives of inmates – as well as demonstrators like here in Düsseldorf – would like the situation to be reversed after President Putin almost never answers their pleading letters.

Photo: Keystone

Either way, the Putin opponent Navalny is facing hard times – he is separated from his wife Julia and their two children for years. Prison law allows him about six short and four longer visits per year in a “general regime camp”. But because of the coronavirus pandemic, there have recently been reports of restrictions on rights from many camps.

The danger in the camp is also great because a system of corrupt and criminal networks and a lack of surveillance mean that crimes are more difficult to solve, according to experts. After the controversial verdict against Navalny, human rights activist Romanova said that he was still under close surveillance by staff and video cameras in the remand prison. But if he is transferred to the camp there is no longer any security for him.

SDA



#Navalnys #hell #earth #torture #beatings #deaths #part #everyday #life #prison #camp

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Hot Topics

The European Agency and the WHO also gave a recommendation for the elderly – the Society

The first quantities of Astrazeneka's vaccine, 150,000 doses, arrived in Serbia over the weekend, and Marija Gnjatović from the Institute for the Application...

The “SEHA” Radiology Conference explores the latest innovations and technological developments – UAE – News and Reports

The Abu Dhabi Health Services Company, "SEHA", organized the 10th session of the "SEHA" International Conference on Radiology recently, which comes in line...

Suspect confesses to killing critical Maltese journalist in 2017 | NOW

A suspect in the killing of Maltese anti-corruption journalist Daphne Caruana...

Related Articles

The European Agency and the WHO also gave a recommendation for the elderly – the Society

The first quantities of Astrazeneka's vaccine, 150,000 doses, arrived in Serbia over the weekend, and Marija Gnjatović from the Institute for the Application...

The “SEHA” Radiology Conference explores the latest innovations and technological developments – UAE – News and Reports

The Abu Dhabi Health Services Company, "SEHA", organized the 10th session of the "SEHA" International Conference on Radiology recently, which comes in line...

Suspect confesses to killing critical Maltese journalist in 2017 | NOW

A suspect in the killing of Maltese anti-corruption journalist Daphne Caruana...