13 Sep 2019 11:52

Prosecutors find no unsanitary conditions in Butyrka cells

MOSCOW. Sept 13 (Interfax) - Moscow prosecutors examined the Butyrka detention facility and found no unsanitary conditions in the cells, Russian Prosecutor General's Office spokesperson Alexander Kurennoi said on a live broadcast on the agency's website.

"The prosecutor immediately examined the detention facility after receiving information on violations. The state of the cells is more than satisfactory," Kurennoi said.

Not all cells are freshly remodeled, "but that does not mean that people were held in unsatisfactory conditions there," he said.

The agency official also said the cells have everything necessary and the only flaw that the inspection showed is the size of the cells. "They were 40 square centimeters smaller, but the detainees have now been transferred to bigger cells," Kurennoi said.

On September 10, members of the Moscow Public Monitoring Commission found people held under arrest in one of the old towers of the Butyrka detention facility, which was earlier closed.

"There are four old towers on the grounds of the prison. One of them is the one where rebel Yemelian Pugachev was once held. Today, it is a museum. The remaining three towers were shut down some years ago. Volunteers visiting the prison to check up on the information received by the PMC discovered that one of the towers is being used as a part of the prison and two inmates suspected of armed robbery are being held inside it," Melnikov said.

The suspects are staying in a cell which has a total area of around four square meters, he said.

"There is a bunk bed in the cell, in front of which there is a squat toilet, privacy conditions are not observed. The tap is broken, water is flowing. The walls in the cell are crummy, and there is a steep cast-iron spiral staircase connecting the floors. It is unclear how food is delivered there and how people walk there because it is unsafe," Melnikov said.

Detention facility officials could not give the members of the Public Monitoring Commission an objective answer to the question as to why people were held in unsafe and unsanitary cells which were closed earlier and which could be at most be used as warehouse space. Both detention facilities have no shortage of free spaces of normal cells.

Melnikov later said the people who had been held under arrest in the uninhabited tower were transferred to other cells.

"The prison administration has told me the prisoners have been transferred from the tower and are now held in regular cells," he said.