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Council Of Europe Chief Concerned About Jailed Russian Activist

Russian civic activist Ildar Dadin
Russian civic activist Ildar Dadin

Council of Europe Secretary-General Thorbjorn Jagland said he has spoken with Russian officials about reports that rights activist Ildar Dadin has been tortured and beaten in prison.

Jagland said on November 3 that he told Justice Minister Aleksandr Konovalov via phone that he is concerned by Dadin's claims in a letter to his wife that he had been tortured and threatened while serving his 2 1/2 year sentence at the IK-7 prison in the northwestern town of Segezha.

Jagland, a former prime minister of Norway, urged Konovalov to carry out a thorough investigation of Dadin's claims and to work with the Council of Europe on prison reform for Russia.

Konovalov pledged to Jagland that a full and transparent probe of Dadin's situation would be conducted.

Dadin, 34, was the first person convicted in Russia of taking part in multiple unsanctioned protests. He received a three-year sentence in December that was later reduced by six months.

Meanwhile, Dadin's wife, Anastasia Zotova, said on November 3 that her husband is thought to have had a seizure on November 2.

The deputy head of Russia's prison service, Valery Maksimenko, said Dadin had fallen off a chair "in a fit" while being examined by doctors.

Russia's prison service said in a statement that no injuries were found on Dadin when he was examined by the doctors or when checked at a hospital the following day.

"I'm very nervous about my husband," said Zotova, adding that Dadin had never suffered fits before. "I think they've done something awful to him."

Russian Human Rights Commissioner Tatyana Moskalkova also visited Dadin on November 3 and recommended he be moved to a different prison.

Moskalkova's spokesman also said Dadin had agreed to take a polygraph examination.

Russia's Investigative Committee said in a statement on November 3 it was continuing to look into Dadin's torture claims.

Amnesty International has declared Dadin a prisoner of conscience.

With reporting by AFP, Interfax, and TASS
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