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Khodorkovsky’s Transfer to Prison: “Red Zone without Horrors”

Source: (info), 17/06/11

· Yukos Affair · Political Prisoners · Karelia

Yury Vasiliev: Penal Colony No. 7, Liegubskaya Street, Segezha, Republic of Karelia, 186420. It is in this penal colony that Mikhail Khodorkovsky, the former head of Yukos, will serve his sentence.

A source in the Federal Penitentiary Service for Karelia told the Interfax News Agency that Mikhail Khodorkovsky has arrived at No. 7 General Regime Penal Colony, situated in the town of Segezha.

"Initially Khodorkovsky has been allotted to a work unit engaged in providing necessary services to the penal colony. But in the colony there are 12 different work units and later on he could change the work he is doing,” the source said.

The website of the Federal Penitentiary Service for Karelia states: “The main forms of work at the present time are: producing plastic artefacts, producing wooden artefacts, producing metal artefacts, making furniture, growing crops, animal husbandry, producing meat and meat products." As quoted by Radio Liberty, the maximum number of inmates is 1,342, including a strict regime section of the colony for 300 people.

On a web forum for prisoners the following comments about Penal Colony No. 7 can be found: "It can seem from the outside that everything is fine. The prison officers seem to be OK, polite. People say the food there is not bad. Some prisoners get early release on parole. The prisoners are officially allowed to make phone calls from a call-box once a week. Parcels and letters reach there quite quickly. If there is need, a prisoner can go to the hospital in Medvezhegorsk – the food there is better still and the discipline milder." There is a more laconic comment: "Red zone. No horrors."

[NB: A ‘Red Zone’ refers to a prison where allegedly the prison authorities exercise their power through a system of informers and certain prisoners have impunity to exercise violence against fellow inmates at the behest of the authorities. This is in distinction to a Black Zone, a prison where, allegedly, the prisoners themselves informally exercise much control over prison life. – ed.]
As of 13.30 Moscow time on 17 June there was no official information about the location of Mikhail Khodorkovsky. Khodorkovsky’s lawyers addressed a request for information to the leadership of the Federal Penitentiary Service, stressing that failure to provide such information contradicts Article 75, Section 2, of the Criminal Punishment Code and Rule 44 of the Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners: “Every prisoner shall have the right to inform at once his family of his imprisonment or his transfer to another institution.”

The ex-head of Yukos, Mikhail Khodorkovsky, was sentenced by Moscow’s Khamovniki District Court in the so-called Second Yukos Case to eight years in prison. On appeal, Moscow City Court reduced the sentence by one year. Khodorkovsky’s transfer to a new prison (he served a sentence imposed under the First Yukos Case in a penal colony in the town of Krasnokamensk, Chita region) took place in conditions of extreme secrecy: neither Mikhail Khodorkovsky’s relatives nor his lawyers were able to obtain any official information.
Rights in Russia,
18 Jun 2011, 07:48