MOSCOW, Nov. 1 (UPI) — Russia on Tuesday said it would launch an investigation after opposition activist Ildar Dadin said he was tortured and threatened with rape while imprisoned.
Russia’s Investigative Committee told TASS Russian News Agency that a probe would be carried out over Dadin’s “publications in mass media on the use of torture against a convict who is serving his sentence in the IK-7 penal colony” in northwestern Russia’s federal republic subject of Karelia.
Dadin is the first person sentenced under Russia’s criminal code related to breaking the rules of public gatherings. He was found guilty in December on four counts of participating in unauthorized protests held in 2014 and was sentenced to three years in a penal colony, though his sentenced was reduced to two and a half years.
Dadin published a letter saying he was beaten four times when he arrived at the Segezha prison colony on Sept. 11 by groups of up to a dozen people. The next day, Dadin said he was hung up by handcuffs for half an hour, most of his clothes were removed and he was threatened with rape.
“You’ve been just lightly beaten. If I order it my officers will beat you much more severely. If you try to complain, you’ll be killed and buried outside the prison fence,” a prison official told Dadin, he wrote in the letter first published by Meduza.
Meduza on Tuesday said Russia’s Federal Penitentiary Service confirmed to Novaya Gazeta that Dadin was subjected to torture. The prison agency said Dadin was tortured after “rudely refusing to get out of [his holding cell]” and after he “began grabbing the uniforms of [prison] employees.”
Officials did not provide further details on what occurred to Dadin.
Amnesty International on Tuesday called for authorities to release Dadin “immediately and unconditionally.”
“Ildar 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,” Sergei Nikitin, director of Amnesty International Russia, said in a statement.
Dmitry Peskov, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman, said the “case deserves very careful attention.”