Political prisoner Igor Matveev asks for help

posted 6 Sept 2015, 10:14 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 6 Sept 2015, 10:15 ]
1 September 2015

Source: HRO.org (info)
Former police major Igor Matveev who is currently locked away in pre-trial detention facility No. 1 in Vladivostok, asks all concerned citizens for financial support as his health declines in prison. He pleads for money for healthcare medications.

He was convicted in 2011 immediately after he made public facts of corruption, as well as numerous violations at the military base in Vladivostok, including beating service personnel, feeding soldiers dog food, and providing living accommodation for Chinese and Korean migrant workers on the territory of the military unit. After these charges, Matveev was stripped of his military pension, in other words his livelihood.

“Let us help an honest and courageous officer who is fighting corruption alone and defenseless,” wrote Matveev’s support group on the Russian social media site VKontakte.

The card number to transfer funds is 4276 0400 1127 2528 and can be transferred in the name of Marina Venchikova (Марина Венчикова). Donations can be small but hopefully will be regular, on a monthly basis.

Matveev’s support group published his statement:

“Dear friends! I am forced yet again to appeal to the entire human rights community and to all concerned citizens who can provide me with some material support. […] In addition to collecting funds for lawyers and legal counsel, I am unfortunately now in need of raising funds for medicaments and health care as my health declines. That is how it is. In my 20 years of service in the military, I have never stolen anything and have no savings or real estate. I am begging for a response. This is a forced plea! I ask this with respect and hope for support.”

In May 2011, Matveev, a major in the interior ministry forces, posted online an appeal to Russia’s president Dmitry Medvedev in which he exposed corruption in the brigade of the interior ministry's forces. He pointed specifically to the fact that canned dog food was being stored in the brigade's depot: service personnel were being fed canned dog food “Belka and Strelka” that had been relabeled as “Beef in its own juice.”

3 days after the publication of his appeal post, Matveev was fired from his position and accused of 'breaching the terms of his contract.' In the next few days the first criminal case was filed against him. Matveev was charged for abusing his official powers through violence (Article 286, Section 3, point 'a' of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation). According to investigators, Major Matveev violently attacked a warrant officer who was selling drugs. The accused pleaded not guilty to all charges.

On September 9, 2011, the Vladivostok garrison military court sentenced Igor Matveev to four years of imprisonment in a general regime penal colony.

Human rights activists and the public have called the case against Matveev revenge by the government for his actions against corruption and abuses by the military command unit.

Immediately after this verdict, Igor Matveev continued his anti-corruption work in the penal colongy until a second criminal case was brought against him, in connection with which he received an additional four years in prison, Citizen and the Army reports.

According to the Memorial Human Rights Centre in Moscow, Matveev is a recognized political prisoner.

For further information about the case of Major Matveev, see HERE.

Translated by Sasha Shapiro