Marina Litvinovich, a member of the Public Monitoring Commission (PMC), spoke on her Telegram channel about the explosion of outrage among the prisoners in the detention center. She published a video of her passage through the prison corridor, in which it is clearly audible that loud synchronous rhythmic knocking is heard from everywhere from behind the doors of closed cells. She said that before the POC representatives arrived in Sakharovo, the situation in the special detention center had seriously deteriorated.
“People rioted, knocked, shouted. We went through all the rebellious cameras, recorded all the problems, talked with people, went to solve their problems, partially solved them right away", - the Dozhd TV channel quoted Litvinovich as saying.
In the special detention center in Sakharovo, from where mass complaints of detainees who were dissatisfied with the "inhuman conditions of detention" came, Litvinovich spent the whole day on February 4. She confirmed the validity of the detainees' complaints, stressing that the people brought to the places of detention have “a lot” of problems, including with access to phones and personal belongings.
By the time Litvinovich and other members of the POC arrived, there were 812 people in the detention center. During the day, the community members managed to visit two-thirds of the prisoners, distributing water, hygiene products and slippers to those in need.
A massive influx of prisoners to places of detention in Russia occurred after protests in support of politician Alexey Navalny and other political prisoners on January 23, 31 and February 2. During the rallies, the police and riot police detained over 10 thousand people.
The police departments and places of detention were not ready for the influx of such a mass of prisoners: on the approaches to the special detention centers, many hours of queues of police wagons and buses with detainees accumulated. People were forced to languish for 40 hours in inhuman conditions. Many of them were deprived of food, water and toilet facilities. The largest stream of complaints came from the special detention center in Sakharovo, built on the principle of a “deportation prison” for migrants, as well as from places of serving sentences in St. Petersburg.
In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, people were placed in violation of sanitary standards: in some holding cells, designed for 8 people, up to 28 arrested were "rammed". Journalists compared such appalling conditions of detention to a "concentration camp".