"Institutionalized lawlessness": Russian journalist fined for prison reports

elena maglevannaya Zubair Zubairayev In Yezhednevnyi zhurnal, Zoya Svetova writes that the Russian journalist Yelena Maglevannaya (photo) has been fined 200,000 roubles (6,238 USD) for causing “moral damage and to refute the information provided in the articles published on various sites”. The decision came from the Volgograd District Court, which found in favour of the authorities at the Volgograd prison where the Chechen national Zubair Zubairayev has been held and tortured (see photo). In her article, Svetova explains that she wrote a letter to Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov outlining the fate of Zubairayev, but received a reply from  Nurdi Nukhazhiyev, Chechnya’s human rights commissioner. In his letter to Svetova, Nukhazhiyev says that he knows of the problems faced by Chechen inmates in Russian prisons, but is powerless to take any action. He was in continuous contact with the federal authorities, including the Prosecutor General, about Zubairayev’s case throughout 2008.

In late April this year, a delegation of the Council of Europe’s Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) made its eleventh visit since 2000 to the North Caucasian region of the Russian Federation. The delegation was led by  CPT president Mauro Palma, and held discussions with North Caucasus leaders, including Ramzan Kadyrov and members of his government. Zoya Svetova wonders why the subject of Zubairayev’s detention and torture was not raised at any of these meetings. She characterizes as “institutionalized lawness” the impunity with which the prison authorities and Russia’s FSIN (Federal Service for the Execution of Punishments) now act.

RFE/RL and the Khodorkovsky Centre have reports.

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