Posted 20 августа 2023,, 20:36

Published 20 августа 2023,, 20:36

Modified 21 августа 2023,, 12:29

Updated 21 августа 2023,, 12:29

Pizza for prisoners. How do lawyers feel when they learn about new torture in prisons

Pizza for prisoners. How do lawyers feel when they learn about new torture in prisons

20 августа 2023, 20:36
Lawyer Irina Biryukova baked pizza all night after her colleagues dissuaded her from announcing a new torture incident in one of the Russian colonies. A momentary impulse can often harm prisoners. In such difficult moments, Irina cooks a lot of homemade food and goes to prison with broadcasts.

Julia Suntsova

Lawyer Irina Biryukova reports on the next brutal beatings of prisoners in one of the high-security colonies. In a closed prison system, official crimes often go unpunished.

As practice shows, only the publication of the atrocities of the jailers gives prisoners at least some hope of initiating criminal cases against their tormentors — officials of the FSIN. Without video evidence, the administration of the colonies denies the facts of torture, prison doctors do not record injuries, and investigative authorities refuse to initiate cases.

But human rights defenders and lawyers cannot always name a specific institution based on the principle of «do no harm» — prisoners are in a vulnerable position every day.

Irina Biryukova wrote an emotional statement about the feeling of powerlessness — you have the status of a lawyer, you know that torture continues, you read descriptions of bloody atrocities, but you can't stop them.

— I often don't know how to do it. Where to go, to whom, what to ask, what to demand, what to write. There are no laws now, and we lawyers have the main rule — do no harm. Every doctor has his own cemetery. Every lawyer has his own colony, morgue, mental hospital, pre-trial detention center, prison. And this is a responsibility. Sometimes I do not know how to cope with it, — says Irina.

In critical situations, while you are thinking about what to do, the simplest human instincts turn on: to comfort, to feed.

— In one of the colonies of one of the regions, many convicts were beaten. The right people warned me that I should not go there. Otherwise it will get even worse for them. And so, everything will get better now, we have already created a lot of attention, we have to wait. Here you don't know what to do… I made some pizzas. Different. Then they told me — some prisoners said that these were the most delicious pizzas in their entire lives. You can imagine how I cried, » Irina said.

It seems incredible that even yesterday the jailers who organized inhuman tortures could so easily take and allow them to give their victims delicious homemade food. Maybe at least in these moments there are manifestations of attention and care for the prisoners from the outside, something is going wrong with them?

Over the years, Irina has learned to transfer her food so that the administrations of the colonies could not understand who she was from.

— We can't do everything. We can do what we can. Sometimes I want to send everything *****. But when I don't know what to do, I cook. A lot. Sometimes a lot. Tomorrow will be a new day. And not just me. And we, many of us, do everything that is available to us. Maybe it's not enough, but then we won't even be able to do it if we do it in some other way. And while we're thinking about how and what to do in a new situation, I'm cooking. Pizza and donuts.

The next morning, after thinking, lawyer Irina Biryukova gets into her car, goes to another prison and again comes up with how to organize a transfer with treats to her clients.

— I'm looking for missing people in Russia. I'm trying to get to them in jail. My colleague and I fight in military commandant's offices, we protect convicts in prisons and pre-trial detention centers from torture. We are seeking elementary treatment. We are trying to prove that convicts, prisoners and illegally detained people are also people.

Why are they beaten and tortured during cell searches?

— Beatings in colonies are a common phenomenon during mass searches of cells. — Says the source of «NI».

— Beating and torture solve two problems for employees at once. Tactical — this is how they try to stimulate the prisoner to undress faster, move, obey implicitly. Strategic — so that you know that you will also need to obey implicitly during all subsequent searches. There are no other tasks.

The main reason for allocating special rooms for torture is the concealment of crimes. If you beat someone in front of everyone, then witnesses appear. There are no witnesses in such a room, there, from the standpoint of the law — only the victim and accomplices of the crime.

— They do not beat during searches, but conduct searches during beatings. The arrival of the combined squad of the Federal Penitentiary Service with searches is not a search, it is a break, it is a tightening of the regime and a formal basis for the use of special means, » the expert adds.

In the infamous penal colony No. 1 of Yaroslavl — beatings again

In 2018, thanks to a ten-minute video produced by Irina Biryukova, the whole world learned about the cruel tortures in Yaroslavl IK-1. The lawyer himself, however, then had to leave the country for a while because of the incoming threats.

But the deed was done — after the release of the video with the torture of Yevgeny Makarov, twelve employees were convicted. (The 25-year-old Makarov prisoner, we recall, was crucified by the jailers on the desk and inflicted at least 865 blows with rubber batons).

After the summer of 2018, according to other episodes in the same IC-1, about 25 more FSIN members were convicted of abuse of office with the use of violence.

Despite arrests, sentences and even resignations in the senior level, information about prison torture continues to arrive to human rights defenders from different parts of the country.

In the same Yaroslavl region, less than a year after a loud scandal, a new one happened. In May 2019, another suspect, tortured to death, was brought to the intensive care unit from pre-trial detention center No. 1. He never regained consciousness before he died.

Two days ago, it became known about new complaints about the ill-treatment of prisoners in the IC-1 of Yaroslavl. Vladislav Vyugin and Mikhail Strumentalev, who are serving their sentences there, told the defenders about the beatings. As follows from the words of the men, they were placed in the same class for «educational work» as Evgenia Makarova.

On the way to the torture room, Vyugiin warned the jailers that he felt bad. A doctor was invited to him, but the medic did not examine the prisoner. Later, traces of bodily injuries were recorded by the assistant Prosecutor's Office for supervision of the enforcement of laws in correctional institutions of the Yaroslavl region and the regional ombudsman.

Strumentalev refused to enter the cell with other prisoners, because he had a conflict relationship with them and he was afraid of a fight. The man explained this to the FSIN and asked for another cell (the prisoner has the right to do this), after which beatings followed. After Strumentalev was given an anesthetic injection, but they refused to fix the injuries, threatening to beat him again.