Aleksei Sokolov on the Right to Hunger Strike

posted 19 Sep 2011, 12:30 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 19 Sep 2011, 12:46 ]
Source: (info), 12/09/11 

· Prisoners 

Human rights defender Aleksei Sokolov writes on the Russian government’s initiative to equate prisoners’ hunger strikes to “gross violations of prison rules”: 

“Equating hunger strikes in penal colonies to riots and causing disorder takes away the last remaining form of lawful protest prisoners have. There are no others: there is no other way for somebody in a penal colony to draw attention to their problem. He will simply be placed in a cell where he will stay for two or three months and nobody will know anything about him, especially if he does not have any relatives. 

Sometimes it happens that a prisoner is beaten up and photographs are never taken of his injuries, he is simply hidden away somewhere in the basement and deprived of the opportunity to file a criminal complaint. His only chance to do something, to achieve something, to draw attention to himself is to declare a hunger strike. And if this means of protest did not exist, then after the beating it would even be possible to start a new criminal case against that same prisoner. He would no longer be able to resist in any lawful way." [Read more