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Prison protest in Siberia in its third day as inmates complain over regime and parole rules

By The Siberian Times reporter
26 June 2013

Some 39 convicts wounded their own arms and shoulders in the mutiny at Prison number 3 in Irkutsk.

The protest started on 23 June and on Wednesday a group of 400 inmates massed on the central yard of the jail following a head count of convicts. Picture: Vladimir Boydino

Nicknamed 'siloviki correctional colony' it contains mostly law enforcement officers who have committed crimes. The protest started on 23 June and on Wednesday a group of 400 inmates massed on the central yard of the jail following a head count of convicts. 

Some reports said the prison was surrounded by troops by this was denied by the local penitentiary service spokesman who said calm was restored with the use of force. One prisoner - former Tomsk mayor Alexander Makarov - was attacked amid disorder inside the jail with Russian news agencies saying the problems amounted to a 'riot'.

'Indeed, after the Wednesday riot, several persons attacked Makarov and pummelled him,' said an officer. 

The 39 were described as having abused their own bodies in a 'blackmail' bid to force the hand of the authorities. 

'All the injured were treated for cuts and bandages were put on their arms', said an official source. 

Inmates appears to have have several grievances, among them alleged 'bad conditions' at the jail which is inside the city of Irkutsk.

'It is hard to specify one main complaint', said Olga Khindanova, chief spokesperson for Russian Federal Penitentiary Service for Irkutsk region.

'They are unhappy with the increased  prices at the prison shop, with the quality of the medical service, and with the mechanism of parole.'

Order was later restored inside the jail, said staff.

She stressed: 'The prisoners are in quite a peaceful mood. They say they are not seeking conflict but  they are exhausted and want order.'

The regional ombudsman, prosecutors and Federal Penitentiary Service officials have visited the prison. At one point, the inmates demanded the presence of journalists, and several camera crew were allowed to enter the premises. In November 2010 Makarov was found guilty of abuse of office powers and taking a bribe on seven counts and sentenced to 12 years. In October 2011 the Supreme Court reduced his sentence by four months.

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