Tuesday, June 1, 2021

Ingush Prisoner Involved in Hunger Strike at Saratov Oblast Camp

Paul Goble

            Staunton, May 30 – Ingush Timur Tumgoyev was one of 40 prisoners at the Balashov corrective labor camp in Saratov to take part in a hunger strike this past week to protest the conditions under which they are being kept and the abuse they are suffering. Although the strike quickly ended, it is a reminder that Ingush protesters won’t stop even after being jailed.

            Sergey Sleputkhin, Tumgoyev’s lawyer, said his client had decided to strike because of physical abuse on the part of the guards, the theft of his personal possessions, and the poor quality of the food (fortanga.org/2021/05/zaklyuchennye-zashili-sebe-rty-urozhenecz-ingushetii-ob-usloviyah-soderzhaniya-v-tyurme/).

            According to local activists who visited the camp, these were not the real reasons. Instead, the prisoners objected to being required to shave their beards and other prison rules and were sent to punishment cells as a result. It was these activists who reported that the strike had quickly collapsed.

            Some of those engaged in the strike, Sleputkhim said, but apparently not Tumgoyev, cut themselves as part of the protest. These prisoners then ended the action because that had left them in desperate need of medical attention something their jailors said would be provided only if the prisoners ended the strike.

            Another Ingush activist, Magomed Bekov, said he had received a note from Tumgoyev who said that “about ten” of the prisoners had “sowed up their mouths” to express their conviction that nothing they said would be listened to by the powers that be. They asked him, Bekov said, to ask Moscow to intervene because the Saratov jailers remain unresponsive.

            Meanwhile, Magomed-Bashir Ozdoyev was sentenced to eight months in a general regime camp for his role in the March 2019 protest in Magas. But because of time served in a pre-detention center, he will be released in two weeks (fortanga.org/2021/05/magomed-bashir-ozdoev-prigovoren-k-vosmi-mesyaczam-lisheniya-svobody/).

            That continues a disturbing trend in Ingushetia. People are kept in detention for so long that they have been punished before any judgment has been reached against them, a completely illegal and unconstitutional arrangement that is nonetheless standard operating procedure in Russia sometimes in Moscow but almost always beyond the ring road.

            And more details leaked out about a clash between Chechen siloviki and Ingush environmental activists earlier this week. The Chechens detained the Ingush near the Chechen border, confiscated their telephones, and burned their car and documents, but the Chechens remain unpunished (kavkazr.com/a/31274311.html).

            The Ingush authorities are looking into the matter, but neither Chechen nor Russian ones apparently have been willing to do that. 


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