World Bulletin / News Desk
A Russian activist jailed for staging solo anti-government protests claimed in a letter published Tuesday that he was beaten and threatened with rape and murder in prison.
Ildar Dadin, a 34-year-old serving a two-and-a-half year sentence at a prison in Russia's northwestern region of Karelia, was the first person to be imprisoned under a new law that punishes repeated participation in unsanctioned rallies with jail time.
In a letter to his wife published Tuesday on Meduza, an independent Russian news portal based in Latvia, Dadin said that on the second day of his detention in September, the prison governor and three other employees came to his cell and began beating him.
"They beat me four times that day, 10 to 12 people at a time, they were kicking me," Dadin said in the letter, transcribed by his lawyer Alexei Liptser on Monday.
"After the third beating, they put my head in the toilet bowl right in the isolation cell."
Dadin also said that prison workers had hung him by his handcuffs for half an hour and pulled his underwear down, threatening him with rape if he refused to stop a hunger strike he had begun after being deprived of basic necessities such as soap and toilet paper.
Dadin added that he was not the only detainee being mistreated and that he had been threated with death if he complained.
"Constant beatings, bullying, humiliation, insults, intolerable detention conditions -- this also happens to the other inmates," Dadin wrote.
Putin 'informed' of claims
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Tuesday that President Vladimir Putin would be informed of the allegations.
The regional branch of Russia's investigative committee said it would probe Dadin's claims, Russian news agencies reported.
Rights groups such as Amnesty International have called for Dadin's release and a thorough investigation into his claims.
"We are urging Russian authorities to end the pattern of impunity for torture and other ill treatment and investigate Ildar Dadin's appalling allegations," Sergei Nikitin, director of Amnesty International Russia, said in a statement.
"They must also immediately and unconditionally release Ildar Dadin, and provide him with full remedy for the injustice done to him."
Some 50 people went to the Moscow headquarters of the Federal Penitentiary Service on Tuesday night to submit requests for an investigation into Dadin's mistreatment, an AFP photographer at the scene said.
One protester staging a solo picket held up a sign that read: "Stop torture, freedom to Dadin."
In his letter, Dadin also called on the Committee Against Torture -- an NGO that has been targeted by authorities in their broader crackdown against civil society -- to ensure his safety as well as that of other inmates.
The head of the committee, Igor Kalyapin, told AFP he was working on receiving the authorisation required to visit the prison.
"If Russia's Federal Penitentiary Service does not give me permission, no-one will let me in the prison," he said, adding he was ready to fly out the minute he receives a formal authorisation.
An unnamed official from the regional penitentiary service told Novaya Gazeta opposition newspaper that prison guards had used "physical force" against Dadin after he "rudely refused to leave his cell and be searched, tugging at the guards' uniforms".
But Russia's human rights ombudsman Tatyana Moskalkova told TASS state news agency that the head of the regional prison service had spoken to Dadin and the activist had not "confirmed the beatings and threats".
Moskalkova said she had received photographs of Dadin that showed no signs of beatings.
International rights groups have decried inmates' treatment in Russian prisons, which are often overcrowded and rife with corruption.
Some 6,500 Palestinians are currently being held in Israeli prisons
'Texas honors all the men and women who protect and serve our communities, and justice will be served,' Texas governor says
Police said the suspect, 25-year-old Alek Minassian, was not known to them before Monday's carnage in Canada's most populous city, which also left 15 people injured.
At least 41 Palestinians were martyred by Israeli gunfire on Gaza border since March 30
Talks are expected to tackle the possibility of U.S. troop withdrawal from war-torn Syria
Plans to roll out an appeals process globally in coming months came as Facebook provided a first-ever look at internal standards used to decide what posts go too far in terms of hateful or threating speech.
John Bolton led Gatestone Institute from 2013 until he took his White House position earlier this month
Attack ‘not part of a wider plot and there is no threat to national security’, says public safety minister
That vote, scheduled to take place at about 5:00 pm (2100 GMT), would not end the nomination, but would put a negative recommendation in the hands of the closely-divided full Senate -- where his approval is not guaranteed.
The company said in a message to customers that the attack was detected on January 14, at a time when the app had 14 million users in the Middle East, North Africa, Pakistan and Turkey, according to the economic news website Arabian Business.
We hope everyone remains fully committed to implementation and long-term preservation, says UN under-secretary-general
Obama, who met with Mandela in 2005 and who made an emotional address at his funeral, will speak at the lecture marking 100 years since the anti-apartheid icon was born.
A total of 41 Gazans have been martyred by Israeli gunfire since March 30
On Thursday, Iraqi F-16 fighter jets struck ISIL positions in Syria
On Thursday, Iraqi F-16 fighter jets struck ISIL locations in neighboring Syria