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Urals Human Rights Group: On the trial of the head of Penal Colony No. 6 in Kopeisk

posted 3 Feb 2014, 06:18 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 3 Feb 2014, 06:24 ]
28 January 2014

Press Release by Urals Human Rights Group

The trial of Denis Sergeevich Mekhanov, charged with abuse of office resulting in serious consequences (Article 285, Section 3, of the Criminal Code) and unlawful manufacture of weapons (Article 223, Section 4) continued today in Kopeisk Town Court.

It had been planned that the questioning of victims from among the prisoners held at Penal Colony No. 6 who are present at the trial – B. Tikhonov, D. Gordeev, D. Volobuev – would take place today.

The court wished to question D. Gordeev first, but Gordeev refused to give evidence, citing poor health.

When B. Tikhonov took the stand, he also refused to answer questions, and immediately made two formal requests:

- to talk separately with the judge and the prosecutor, since he had important information about threats that had been made to him personally and to his family related to his participation as a victim in the trial, and on the basis of which he had real fears for his life and for the lives of his family. Therefore he asked for his safety to be ensured by being transferred to the FSB remand centre for the course of the trial, and that steps should be taken to ensure the safety of his family;

- that they should not be brought to the pre-trial detention centre during the trial, often leaving them in temporary detention cells.

The situation was also extraordinary because the court agreed to the request of the victims' representatives to postpone the hearing. It was postponed until 6 February.

Urals Human Rights Group is EXTREMELY concerned about the situation, believing that there is a real threat to the lives of Tikhonov, Gordeev and Volobuev at present, and considers that the threat derives from those people who wish to see crimes committed in the penitentiary system covered up, and the perpetrators acquitted.

The Group also believes that there is a real threat to the life and health of convicts currently held in Penal Colony No. 6 who are witnesses in the case against Mekhanov.

The Group considers that the federal Investigative Committee, the Prosecutor’s Office and senior authorities in the Federal Penitentiary Service must immediately take steps to intervene in the situation.

The Group also believes that D. S. Mekhanov should be held in pre-trial detention, and that his current bail should be ended.

Urals Human Rights Group has informed the human rights ombudsman of Chelyabinsk region A. M. Sevastyanov and the assistant for human rights of the head of the Chelyabink Penitentiary Service D. V. Khromov.

Tomorrow the legal representatives of the prisoners mentioned above will visit them in pre-trial detention, and if necessary members of the Public Oversight Commission will also visit them.

Nikolai Shchur,
Head of the Urals Human Rights Group
+7 922235 2551
28 January 2014
15.35 Moscow time