Tuesday, July 24, 2012


via Faktensucher by curi56 on 7/24/12

by Sarah Verba

  • July 23, 2012
  • 6:30 pm

Hundreds of prisoners in a southern Russian penitentiary began a hunger strike on Sunday in retaliation to the brutal beating and death of a fellow inmate. Authorities claim that only 118 men have begun the hunger strike, accompanied by about five men who slashed veins on their arms. They also claimed that the men who cut themselves were in no danger.
The story gets a little more interesting when news outlets and activists began claiming a much higher number of protesters are participating in the strike. The Moscow Times states that about 900 prisoners have joined in on the strike, refusing the food offered by the prison. In a facility that houses 1,100 inmates, that number is certainly alarming and effective.
Activists in the Public Monitoring Committee claim that they were witness to some of the brutality practiced in the prison. The Moscow Times quotes Almira Zhukova about the state of the prison and the common practice of beating prisoners there:
Then we discovered the beatings; we found proof… It was terrifying. They beat [prisoners] till they were blue. All the rooms were covered in blood.
The high security prison in Salavat houses men that are considered to be serious felons. Although officials claim that Sergei Lasko, the man whose death sparked the uprising, suffered a heart attack, activists and prisoners remain adamant that the death was caused by merciless torture and beatings.
Authorities have also attempted to downplay the severity of the prison strike, stating that only about 100 prisoners refused food prepared by the prison. Although that number represents a very conservative estimate, even 10 percent of the prison population in such a high security facility presents a serious challenge to authority and has already drawn worldwide criticism of the prison system in Russia.
The hunger strike represents just one of many recent uprisings against the judicial and penitentiary system in Russia under Vladimir Putin. Last week it was announced that members of the dissident punk group, Pussy Riot, would remain in custody into 2013 awaiting a trial that continues to be postponed. Human Rights Watch has consistently commented on the lack of human rights in the justice system in Russia.
Read more: http://www.care2.com/causes/up-to-900-russian-prisoners-start-hunger-strike.html#ixzz21XBpQnZD

Prisoners Strike en Masse to Protest Fellow Inmate's Death

Inmates praying at a religious service in Bashkortostan's Penal Colony No. 4.
Inmates praying at a religious service in Bashkortostan's Penal Colony No. 4.

Up to 900 prisoners are refusing food, and five slashed their forearms in a high-security prison in Bashkortostan after an inmate was beaten to death, rights activists said.
The inmates took the step to draw attention to prison authorities’ refusal to grant medical assistance to Sergei Lasko, who died after a severe beating by prison employees on the night of July 17, activists from the Public Monitoring Committee, an organization that defends prisoners’ rights, told the Gulagu.ru human rights portal.
Activists said 900 of the roughly 1,100 inmates at Bashkortostan’s Prison Colony No. 4 were refusing food, while the Federal Prison Service gave a figure of 118, stressing that the inmates were only refusing food prepared on the prison’s premises.
Almira Zhukova, a member of the local branch of the Public Monitoring Committee, said activists learned about Lasko’s death and the ensuing hunger strike only by chance after a lawyer visited the prison on a separate issue.
“Then we discovered the beatings; we found proof,” Zhukova told Gulagu.ru. “It was terrifying. They beat [prisoners] till they were blue. All the rooms were covered in blood.”
An inmate told Zhukova that while Lasko was being beaten, guards played loud music over prison speakers to mask the victim’s shouts. “Whenever the music starts, we know that they are going to beat someone,” the unidentified inmate was quoted as saying.
Activists now fear that prison authorities could refuse to give up Lasko’s body for burial in order to hide the cause of his death.
Both Zhukova and Gulagu.ru head Vladimir Osechkin have written to the Investigative Committee and Federal Security Service with requests to open criminal cases into the death.
On Saturday, the Bashkortostan arm of the Federal Prison Service denied Zhukova’s comments in a statement on its website and justified prison employees’ use of force against Lasko by the severity of his conviction.
“Prison Colony No. 4 houses criminals who have committed especially grave crimes. They are repeat offenders,” the statement said, adding that the inmates on strike had behaved extremely badly over the course of their incarceration.

Read more: http://www.themoscowtimes.com/news/article/prisoners-strike-en-masse-to-protest-fellow-inmates-death/462413.html#ixzz21XVKgNey
The Moscow Times

Forensic Psychiatry News Review - 7:35 AM 7/24/2012