Siberian Jail Inmates Protest Over Conditions

NOVOSIBIRSK, June 26 (RIA Novosti) – Some 400 prisoners at a penal colony for former policemen in eastern Russia staged a protest on Wednesday morning, calling for better conditions in the facility, prison service officials said.

Some 400 prisoners gathered on the parade ground in protest following a morning head count at Irkutsk Region’s prison camp No. 3, according to the regional branch of the Federal Prison Service (FSIN). At least 39 convicts slashed their shoulders and forearms as part of their protest.

The inmates presented a long list of grievances, about “everything, including steep prices at a local store, the parole system and medical services,” prison service spokeswoman Olga Khindanova told RIA Novosti.

Order was later restored, she said, after the prisoners were allowed to meet a group of journalists and local officials to publicise their complaints. The prisoners were not acting aggressively and only wanted to present their views, Khindanova added.

“[The prisoners] say that they are just fed up and called for order,” she said, adding most of the inmates, many of whom are former law enforcement and government officials, have higher education.

Riots and disorder are not unusal in Russia’s sprawling penal system, which has a reputation for harsh conditions and insufficient oversight.

As of February 1, 697,500 people were held in Russia’s detention centers and prisons, according to the FSIN website.


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