Amnesty International is demanding Russia immediately and unconditionally release Ildar Dadin, a peaceful anti-Kremlin protester jailed for participation in “unauthorized” demonstrations.
In a statement Tuesday, the rights group also urged Russian authorities to investigate Dadin’s allegations of torture described in his letter from prison, published by the Meduza news website earlier in the day.
Russia must provide Dadin with full remedy for the injustice done to him, because “no one should be in jail for peacefully expressing their opinion,” the group said.
Dadin’s “allegations of beatings, humiliation and rape threats are shocking, but unfortunately they are just the latest in a string of credible reports indicating that torture and other ill treatment are being widely used in the Russian penal system with impunity, with the aim of silencing any form of dissent,” said Sergei Nikitin, director of Amnesty International Russia.
Last December, a Moscow court sentenced Dadin to a three-year prison term for repeated anti-government street protests.
He is the first person to be jailed using a 2014 law that punishes repeated breaches of public assembly rules.
Dadin said in his letter from prison that when he arrived at the Segezha prison colony in northwestern Russia this past September 11, he was beaten four times by groups of 10 to 12 people in turn. He wrote that the next day, he was hung up by handcuffs for half an hour, before his underpants were taken off and he was threatened with rape.
Dadin said prison officials told him he had been “just lightly beaten” and that they would beat him “much more severely” if ordered to. Dadin says that he was told that if he tried to complain, he would be “killed and buried outside the prison fence.”
Dadin managed to dictate his letter during the last visit by his lawyer, Amnesty International said. The prison colony administration intercepted his previous letters, which never reached their intended addresses.