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19 Oct, 2007 15:54

Home leave for inmates who refused to riot?

Several teenage prisoners who risked gunfire to rescue two female workers from a frenzied riot on October 16 night will be rewarded, probably with holidays. The Kirovograd youth riot, in Russia's Sverdlovsk region, was the most violent in recent years.

As the riot started, several well-behaved inmates went to the cafeteria and warned staff to get out, including the two women. General Eduard Petrukhin, First Deputy Director of the Federal Penitentiary Service, confirmed that holidays and other legal rewards will be handed out.

500 youths, aged under 18, are housed in the prison.

In all, three people were killed in the incident – two inmates and one field officer, Captain Anatoly Zavyalov. He’s been posthumously given a medal for courage that night. More than 50 people gathered to pay their respects at his funeral.

“He left behind a wife, and children. It's very unfortunate. This was a person who, until the last minute, tried to somehow calm that crowd down, to set them on the right path, but was stopped. The case has been solved, we know who did it and charges have already been brought,” Eduard Petrukhin informed.

Solitary confinement

The riot started when a group of inmates attempted to escape on the night of October 16, reportedly in protest over the use of solitary confinement for one inmate. The prison guards opened fire as the teenagers began scaling the fences – at first as a warning, then as a measure to stop the uprising.

The convicts then set fire to several buildings at the site. Around 200 people took part in the attempted breakout.

Prisoners beaten?

Work is now underway to restore the facility and strengthen the influence staff have on teenagers in such prisons.
All factors, from the work of the employees to the television programmes inmates watch are also under scrutiny.

“It's not the worst colony in comparison with others. The food was normal and the living conditions were OK as well. From some reliable sources I have information that the inmates were physically pressured. They say people were sometimes beaten and insulted. The principal question is why this irritation was not neutralised in time and appropriate measures taken?” said human rights commissioner Vladimir Lukin.

Meanwhile, all convicts have been brought back to the facility to help rebuild what they helped to destroy.