In a letter sent to his wife and published on a news website on 1 November, Ildar Dadin describes his ordeal since his arrival at the prison colony in Segezha in Russia’s Karelia region on 10 September, including severe beatings, rape threats and other torture and ill-treatment.
Ildar Dadin is a prisoner of conscience. He is the first person in Russia to be sentenced under Article 212.1, which effectively criminalises peaceful demonstrations by making it a crime to violate Russia’s highly restrictive Law on Public Assemblies more than twice in 180 days. Ildar Dadin was found guilty of participation in four street actions in 2014, all of which were peaceful.
In a letter to his wife, dictated to his lawyer, he recounts how he was immediately placed in the punishment cell on arrival in Segezha prison colony after prison guards purportedly found two razor blades among his possessions. He declared a hunger strike in protest. He describes how on 11 September he was beaten and kicked four times by groups of 10-12 prison guards, including on one occasion by the director of the prison colony. After his third beating, he claims, his head was pushed down the toilet in the prison cell, and he was threatened with rape. On 12 September he was hung by handcuffs to force him to end his hunger strike. The prison director threatened him in the presence of other officers that if he did not stop his hunger strike he would be “buried on the other side of the prison fence”. Ildar Dadin has been placed in the punishment cell seven times since his arrival in the prison colony. According to Ildar Dadin, the beatings have continued, and the same treatment is meted out to other prisoners. Torture and other ill-treatment have been reported in Segezha prison colony in the past.
Call on the Russian authorities to stop mistreating Ildar and to release him without delay.