Krasnodar, July 29 - Yug Times. Father Vladimir Podberezny, priest of St. Nicholas’ Church in Krasnodar and chairman of the regional Public Monitoring Commission, reflects on the life behind barbed wire and cooperation between public activists and law enforcement agencies.
New convocations of regional branches of the Public Monitoring Commission started to work last autumn. In Kuban, the commission was headed by a priest, a unique phenomenon for the country. Despite the fact that the membership of the commission was nearly fully renewed and many new members had never been engaged in human rights movement, the new structure has had time to prove its efficiency.
Q.: What is the key function of your commission?
A.: The Public Monitoring Commission monitors the observance of rights and freedoms of the detainees - either sentenced to various terms of imprisonment and thus staying in penal colonies, or being under examination, or serving administrative sentences.
Q.: How often do the persons under investigation and convicts appeal to the Public Monitoring Commission? What do they complain about?
A.: The list of penitentiary establishments in the Krasnodar region includes 14 penal colonies, 3 remand centres, 15 special detention facilities, 42 temporary detention centres and a temporary detention centre for the foreigners subject to deportation.
A lion’s share of our clients’ complaints has to do with medicine. Lack of money is the main problem - the system lacks medical specialists; often it is difficult to perform surgical operations. Many people complain about the allegedly unfair verdicts and bad detenrion conditions.
Some convicts cannot be reconciled with the living conditions in our jails. Having watched movies about prisons abroad with one or two persons sitting in an air-conditioned cell equipped with cable TV, they try to demand similar conditions for themselves.
Q.: The Public Monitoring Commission members visited the police stations on the day of unsanctioned demonstration of Aleksey Navalny’s supporters on Match 26. Were any violations revealed then?
A.: No crude violations of human rights were revealed on that day.