Monday, December 22, 2014


Russia

Russian Police Injured In Prison Disturbance

  • Inmates stand on a roof of Prison No. 6 in Kopeysk with a sign that says, "The [prison] administration extorts money and tortures us."
  • Media, relatives, and friends of inmates gather in front of the prison.
  • Police cordon off the area around the Kopeysk prison after the rebellion by inmates broke out on November 24.
  • A group of inmates stands on a rooftop inside the prison. Two of the signs read, "We are 1,500 human beings!"
  • Police officers in riot gear cordon off the prison, with protesting inmates in the background.
  • A banner unfolded on the roof of a prison building reads, "People, help!"
  • A car caught in the melee outside the prison has a shattered window reportedly broken by a police baton.
  • This man was injured as police detained people outside the prison. Authorities said at least eight members of the Russian Interior Ministry's special police force were also injured in the effort to restore order.
  • Police said the situation was fully under control by November 25.
By RFE/RL
At least eight members of the Russian Interior Ministry's special police force, OMON, have been injured trying to restore order at a prison in Chelyabinsk in the Ural Mountains.

Details of what happened at the Kopeysk prison remain sketchy.

The press service for the local branch of the Interior Ministry said some 250 prisoners were able to reach the rooftops of some prison buildings late on November 24 and stage a protest.

The protesters were reportedly demanding the release of a group of prisoners from a special punishment cell.

Some of the prisoners held up banners that read "People, help."

Some 300 of the prisoners' relatives and former inmates gathered outside the prison walls and also staged a protest. Some of those outside the prison reportedly screamed obscenities and threw bottles at police who arrived to disperse the crowd.

Police detained 38 people outside the prison and said most of those taken into custody were drunk.

Situation Under Control

Human rights activist Oksana Trufanova told the Ekho Moskvy radio station that OMON troops attacked the group outside the prison. "They beat us with batons," Trufanova said. "Their eyes were shining. I have never been in such mayhem."

The local branch of the Interior Ministry denied OMON troops had beaten anyone. Some 250 police officers remain at the scene and the situation inside and outside the prison was reported to be under control.

Rights organizations said there had been complaints about the abuse of prisoners at the facility.

Lev Ponomarev, the head of the For Human Rights movement, described Chelyabinsk as a "hot spot" and said local prosecutors had not reacted to complaints from inmates at the Kopeysk prison.

Ponomaryov said that in 2008 four inmates at Kopeysk died after being beaten.

There are more than 700,000 inmates in Russian prisons.

Based on reporting by ITAR-TASS, Interfax, and Reuters

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