PRAGUE -- The chief of a prominent Russian human rights group says that torture in Russian penitentiaries and police stations can only be stopped if police officers and prison guards who practice it are brought to trial and convicted.
Igor Kalyapin, head of the NGO Committee Against Torture, spoke to Current Time TV in Prague on March 6.
He said there is a widespread belief in Russia that the February 26 release of Ildar Dadin, a political activist whose allegations of torture in prison caused an outcry, was the result of Dadin's persistence rather than a sign of a change in official policy or practices.
"Many believe that Dadin turned out to be impossible for the system to chew up, and the system had to spit him out," Kalyapin told Current TIme TV, a Russian-language network run by RFE/RL in cooperation with VOA. "While in custody, Dadin...inflicted more damage to the system than he inflicted as a free man."
Dadin, 34, is the only person to have been convicted under a 2014 law that criminalizes participation in more than one unsanctioned protest during a 180-day period.
He was serving a 2 1/2-year sentence when the Supreme Court overturned his conviction last month, leading to his release.