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"Had to accept the 20-kilo glasses": Abstruse case shows harassment in Putin's prison camps


Torture of political prisoners is reportedly not uncommon in Russia. But chicanes could probably look more subtle.

Torture of political prisoners is reportedly not uncommon in Russia.

But chicanes could probably look more subtle.

Munich - The harsh treatment of Vladimir Putin's regime with critics and members of the opposition is well known - a prominent example is Alexej Navalny: According to his brother, he was "tortured exactly according to the textbook" in the penal camp.

Kremlin critic Mikhail Khodorkovsky made a similar statement in an interview with


But the harassment of Putin's judiciary is not always so brutal.

Sometimes, in a manner that seems absurd, valid – and anyway harsh – rules of the game are not observed.

The exile medium


recently described a drastic case : According to the report, a 67-year-old historian had to buy new reading glasses in the prison camp to study the files of the trial.

Russia: NGO Memorial complains about "punishment" for imprisoned historian

Yuri Dmitriev, a former chairman of the branch of the human rights organization Memorial in north-western Russian Karelia, is affected.

Memorial has now been dissolved by a judge in Russia - according to the NGO, Dmitriev is serving a 15-year prison sentence in a high-security prison camp in Mordovia for an allegedly fictitious sexual assault on his adopted daughter. 

According to the reports, the 67-year-old had appealed a series of disciplinary measures: He is said to have spent a month alone in a punishment cell - with the "maximum sentence" actually being 15 days. 

In order to be able to read documents for upcoming negotiations, he asked his lawyer to send him reading glasses, it was said.

However, the penal colony did not allow the program to pass as a “medical broadcast”.

Absurd harassment in Putin's prison camps: "20-kilo glasses" for historians

Instead, Dmitriev had to accept the glasses as one of only three packages that were allowed to be sent to him each year - these shipments may weigh 20 kilos.

They are one of the few ways to get help from outside the prison camp walls.

Shipments may only come in once every four months.

Dmitriev is apparently losing one of those opportunities.

Instead, he only received the glasses, which weighed a few grams.

"I didn't want to sabotage the hearing, so I had to accept the 40-pound glasses," Dmitriev said, according to Memorial.

The organization called the incident "a new form of tormenting a stubborn inmate who dares to stand up for his rights."

The Russian-language offer of the US broadcaster Radio Liberty also reported on the case.

Dmitriev's trial should take place on Thursday, it said. 

Memorial considers him a political prisoner.

In fact, the background to the imprisonment is that the historian discovered mass graves of Soviet citizens in 1997 and compiled "remembrance lists" of oppressed residents of Karelia.

Among other things, Memorial is committed to coming to terms with tyranny and for survivors of Soviet gulags.




Source: merkur

All news articles on 2023-03-21

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