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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
08STATE15778 2008-02-15 14:16:00 CONFIDENTIAL Secretary of State
Cable title:  

DEMARCHE ON INCARCERATION POLICIES IN RUSSIA

Tags:   OSCE PHUM RS 
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VZCZCXRO9582
OO RUEHAG RUEHFL RUEHHT RUEHLA RUEHMRE RUEHNP RUEHROV RUEHSR
DE RUEHC #5778 0461419
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 151416Z FEB 08
FM SECSTATE WASHDC
TO RUEHMO/AMEMBASSY MOSCOW IMMEDIATE 7921
INFO ALL EUROPE COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE
RUEHVEN/USMISSION USOSCE IMMEDIATE 7927
					  C O N F I D E N T I A L STATE 015778 

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/15/2018
TAGS: OSCE PHUM RS
SUBJECT: DEMARCHE ON INCARCERATION POLICIES IN RUSSIA

Classified By: EUR DAS David Kramer, reasons 1.4 (b) and (d).



1. (C) SUMMARY: Department requests Post express at an
appropriate level our serious human rights and humanitarian
concerns about certain issues regarding incarceration
practices in Russia. For USOSCE, Post should understand that
the current demarche is intended to be raised in the course
of our bilateral discussions on human rights and not in the
OSCE PC and is being delivered in Moscow. End Summary.

OBJECTIVE


--------------------------





2. (SBU) Department requests Post to express concern about
the harsh incarceration conditions and treatment of some
prisoners in Russia, including, most recently the lengthy
delays in providing appropriate treatment to the critically
ill former Yukos VP Vasiliy Aleksanyan; and, convey our
previously expressed concern about the use of psychiatric
incarceration by state authorities and medical institutions
to silence opposition activists or others expressing
independent or critical views of the authorities. We also
note with concern disturbing reports by human rights
activists, including Russian Human Rights Ombudsman Vladimir
Lukin, of brutal conditions for transfers of prisoners to
penal colonies, and a growing number of prison camps
characterized by extremely cruel conditions and abusive
treatment of prisoners, including beatings and torture.
Lukin recently released his annual report and made public
statements to President Putin decrying the conditions of
incarceration in Russian prisons, which he says not only do
not meet international, but also fail to meet Russian
standards.

BACKGROUND


--------------------------





3. (C) As Post is aware, in a disturbing breach of an
individual,s right to confidentiality, Russian prison
authorities recently revealed that Vasiliy Aleksanyan, a
former vice-president of Yukos, is sick with HIV/AIDS.
Aleksanyan was transferred from prison to a civilian hospital
for treatment only after lengthy delays in receiving proper
medical treatment, which provoked protests from Russian human
rights advocates and an international outcry. Mikhail
Khodorkovskiy, the Yukos founder whose plight also has raised
serious concerns about the selective application of the legal
system against the Kremlin,s political opponents, drew
additional attention to Aleksanyan,s desperate situation by
going on a hunger strike. Khodorkovskiy has publicly
asserted that Aleksanyan has been under pressure to sign
confessions against him and had been refused adequate medical
attention because of his refusal to sign such confessions.
We welcome reports that Aleksanyian may now, belatedly, be
receiving appropriate medical treatment and urge the Russian
government to continue to provide such treatment.



4. (C) We have also previously expressed our concern about
the use of psychiatric incarceration against opposition
activists or others expressing independent or critical views
of the authorities, such as the forcible commitment of
Larissa Arap in Murmansk in August, and Artem Basyrov in Mari
El in December. Another Russian activist, Roman Nikolaychik,
was hospitalized against his will in February in Tver.



5. (SBU) We strongly urge the Russian government to provide
humane conditions of incarceration, to afford those
incarcerated needed medical treatment and to ensure due
process rights and protections in accordance with
international standards and Russia,s commitments under
international law.

POINT OF CONTACT


--------------------------





6. (SBU) Post should report results of efforts by cable to
EUR/RUS Mary Glantz or contact her at (202) 647-6756 or via
e-mail for any necessary further background information.
RICE