Disciplinary Violation Fabricated against Human Rights Defender Aleksei Sokolov

posted 21 Nov 2010, 01:26 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 21 Nov 2010, 01:30 ]
Source: hro.org (info), 19/11/10

· Human Rights Defenders · Prisoners · Krasnoyarsk Region

A disciplinary violation has been fabricated against human rights defender Aleksei Sokolov on the ninth day after the death of his father, whose funeral the authorities of Krasnoyarsk Penal Colony No. 40 had not allowed him to attend. As a result Aleksei Sokolov might lose the right to parole.

This has been reported by Kasparov.ru citing MST-Inform. On the evening of 13 November one of the prisoners, acting at the request of the penal colony’s authorities, as lawyers representing Aleksei Sokolov suppose, invited the human rights defender to his cell to ‘drink tea’ and, in accordance with Russian tradition, remember his late father. Aleksei Sokolov, without thinking, agreed.

No sooner had the human rights defender and the prisoner begun to drink tea than prison officers arrived and declared that, in violation of disciplinary rules, Aleksei Sokolov was taking food at a time when this was not permitted.

A reprimand was issued against Aleksei Sokolov. It has not been possible to ascertain whether the other prisoner involved also received a reprimand. Sofya Mikitik, correspondent with Kasparov.ru, reports that currently the lawyers acting for the human rights defender are trying to establish all the details of the incident and intend shortly to appeal against what they believe to be a fabricated disciplinary violation.

The human rights defender Aleksei Sokolov, brought to the Krasnoyarsk Penal Colony from Ekaterinburg, has served half of his three-year sentence (initially his sentence was five years in a strict regime colony; moreover the charges brought against him, concerning events that had taken place five years previously, were based solely on the testimony of prisoners who had served more than one term behind bars. On an earlier occasion they had complained to Aleksei Sokolov, as a member of the Public Oversight Commission for places of detention, that they had been “beaten in order to make them give testimony”).

Aleksei Sokolov has received the right to apply for parole. However, in accordance with Russian practice, any violation of discipline, even the most insignificant, is considered evidence that the prisoner has not reformed, and therefore does not merit parole.