Another beating by the colony administration became the last straw for five prisoners with HIV at Prison No. 1, in Ryazan Oblast who on February 8, 2005 slit their wrists in an act of self-defense from the prison staff. To 'restore order' the SWAT was called in and visits by relatives were forbidden.
At 10:00 on 20 February 2005, activists of the Russian FrontAIDS movement blocked the entrance to the Ministry of Justice to draw attention to the problems of people living with HIV in prisons.
According to official statistics, in Russia nearly every eighth person registered with HIV, is behind bars. Inadequate nutrition as well as lack of access to antiretroviral therapy mean a death penalty for many of these thousands of people. The majority of people living with HIV in Russia are drug users who were convicted for possession of small amounts of narcotics within the last 6 years (in accordance with Article 228, Part 1, Criminal Code of the Russian Federation.) Starting 6 May 2004, Bill No. 231 which reviewed the amounts of drugs possession of which entail imprisonment should have changed this situation but, according to Department of Corrections, Ministry of Justice, less than half of the people incarcerated for possession of now legally insignificant amounts of narcotics have been released up to date. In spite of the fact that the government recognized the inadequacy of the older law, today victims of repressive drug laws continue to be in prison condemned to death by a lack of the medical therapy required by Russian law.
Today 15 February, 2005 in a sign of solidarity with those in prison, and with the goal of drawing attention to torture in prison and absence of antiretroviral treatment for people living with HIV, activists approached the Ministry of Justice.
- The creation of a special commission to review the practices of the prison administration in Ryazan's Prison No. 1.
- That a Special hearing is of the Russian Parliament reviews the issue of access to antiretroviral therapy in Russian Prisons.
A PRISON SENTENCE IS NOT A DEATH SENTENCE!
NO TO DEATH CAMPS!
TREATMENT IS A RIGHT NOT A PRIVILEGE!