Russian inmate pleads for euthanasia to no avail

A seriously ill inmate has addressed several organizations in Russia requesting euthanasia. Despite the man suffering from a severe form of diabetes, he has been denied release from the prison or a change of sentence.

Gennady Uminsky, who was sentenced to 18 years in prison for murder, illegal arms trafficking and robbery, is serving his term in the Russian Ryazan region, spending most of his time on a hospital bed, Moskovsky Komsomolets newspaper reports.

In his written address Uminsky says that he fell ill while he was taking part in counter-terrorist operations in the Russian southern republic of Chechnya.

“I practically have no pancreas as a result of a severe injury,” he said. “I cannot move without help and my two crunches.”

Gennady Uminsky added that his illness has further deteriorated during the course of imprisonment, which started in 2007. His weight has dropped from 120 to 58 kilograms and his legs are now covered by gravitational ulcers. The man claims that all the facts have been confirmed by the medical commission in his jail.

“In prison I am doomed to die an awful death,” said Uminsky. “Prison hospitals do not have endocrinology departments and methods to treat diabetes and its consequences.”

Uminsky said that as an Orthodox believer he cannot commit suicide and has therefore asked for euthanasia to stop his suffering. However euthanasia is prohibited in Russia under the law.

Even though prison doctors have also supported Gennady’s statement telling Moskovsky Komsomolets that his condition is indeed worsening, the judge repeatedly refused to let him out of jail.

Gennady’s mother Raisa said that since her son stopped walking two years ago, she has not had a chance to see him.

“The point is that the prison hospital does not have a room for visits and nobody wants to carry him on a stretcher into the building where there is such a room,” she said.

Raisa Uminskaya added that according to the law, Gennady’s death should lead to his release from prison. She also claims that the case against her son was fabricated.

According to the region’s Penal Service spokesperson Ekaterina Safonova, a court refused pledges by the prison’s administration to let Uminsky out of jail so he could be properly treated three times, twice in 2009 and once in 2010. The reasons behind these dismissals have not been explained.

According to Kommersant newspaper, 276 and 233 inmates died in Russian prisons due to heavy illnesses in 2008 and 2009 respectively.

As a result of Dmitry Medvedev’s initiative in December 2010, the Russian State Duma introduced amendments to the Criminal Code which stipulate that the sentence of an inmate may be altered if they suffer from a severe disease.

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