European Court asked to release disabled woman from Moscow detention centre

12 March 2013 

Source: (info)
An urgent application has been sent to the European Court of Human Rights requesting the immediate release of 24-year-old Margarita Charykova from custody in connection with threats to her health and life. The young disabled woman was born lacking certain vital parts of her digestive system (including her rectum) and is currently being held in Matrosskaya Tishina pre-trial detention centre where, in her mother's words, she is literally "rotting alive," Agora Human Rights Association reports.

Today Margarita Charykova is being visited by members of Moscow's Public Oversight Commission.

Lawyer Svetlana Sidorkina has already met with Margarita Charykova in the centre where she confirmed the mother's account of her daughter's condition and sent an urgent application to Strasbourg. She is asking the court to immediately release Charykova and compel Russia to conduct a medical examination to establish that her condition is serious and precludes her staying in custody.

Charykova's mother, Erika Kaminskaya, told Agora that her daughter was arrested in Moscow on 11 December 2012 by drug enforcement officers who confiscated the pharmaceutical drug Piracetam mixed with a home-made psychotropic agent. Kaminskaya said that after numerous operations Margarita took medicine as a pain killer, as she had been plagued by intense pain since birth.

"Apart from the frightening diagnosis, my daughter has always led a normal life: she's worked since she was a teenager, she's always done her best to cover her own living costs and rent, she led an active life and hid the state of her health from those around her to avoid being pitied, " Erika Kaminskaya wrote to the human rights defenders. "Given that outpatient treatments for her diagnosis only had a temporary effect and she didn't have the money to pay for an expensive operation, over time she resorted to using the aforementioned drugs and consequently her usage of them became systemic.

On 12 December 2012 Margarita Charykova was charged with "the manufacture of narcotics, psychotropic substances and similar substances for sale" (Article 228.1, section 3, paragraph G, article 30, part 1 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation). On 15 December at the investigators' request the court ruled to take Charykova into custody, and she was brought to Pechatniki detention centre on the same day.

"Since her arrival in the facility her health has severely deteriorated, she was not given medical attention, even the simplest hygiene procedures were not carried out, and she was denied the opportunity to continue to follow her diet," Kaminskaya wrote to the human rights defenders. "After not receiving the medical attention required for the bleeding of her sigmoid colon from her artificial anus (as she was born without a rectum) and her clogged digestive system, she was admitted to the hospital at Pre-trial Detention Centre No.1 Matrosskaya Tishina in a close to critical condition, showing signs of severe intoxication and oedema throughout her body."

"During the visit I spoke to my daughter twice," says Kaminskaya. "She is literally rotting alive, she is in a lot of pain, she hasn't been going to the toilet for two months, and I can't do anything to help her. I don't know how to explain to them that she only took the drugs with the amphetamine added so that she didn't have to endure this agony, and that she wasn't planning on selling drugs to anyone. Yesterday she said to me, 'Mum, they want me to confess to something that isn't true.' How am I supposed to respond to that? My child is dying. Cattle and lab rats receive better care."

Margarita Charykova will turn 25 on 14 March.