Russia: Izolyatsia, the Kremlin’s Master Detention Facility.

Report from, Martin Musiime,  Activist and Human rights lawyer, November 14, 2022:

As the war on Ukraine by the Russian regime ravages, more gross violations of human rights by the Russian state and its backed Separatists continue to surface. A very recent picture of these violations is the arbitrary imprisonment of pro-Ukraine activists and scholars in the ‘Izolyatsia prison. Izolyatsia is a former factory, previously used for cultural purposes, that has since been converted into a torture prison by the Russian Federation. A website dedicated to the former factory named ‘Izolyatsia Must Speak,’ states that, ‘Izolyatsia’ is an illegal prison, equipped by the Russian Federation on the site of a former insulation materials factory in the temporarily Russian-occupied territory of Ukraine in Donetsk. Further that the Russian-Ukrainian armed conflict in Ukrainian Donbas, this space was used by the ‘Izolyatsia’ platform for cultural initiatives.

The prison has been the subject of grim recounts from former inmates. Among these inmates, is Ukrainian scholar Prof. Ihor Kozlovskyj who spent in the illegal detention facility close to two years. In his story, as reported by ‘tagesshau’ on the 9th of September 2022, he narrates that while there, he experienced the most gruesome of torture. He states that his torturers took turns beating him, applying electric shocks, cutting off air, hanging him up and mock-shooting him for many hours. He further states that everyone was tortured, both women and men in that facility. This went to the extreme of raping everyone, including the men. Due to his torture, his limbs constantly go numb and he often loses consciousness.

Another victim is Ukrainian author and journalist Stanislav Volodymyrovych Aseyev who was kidnapped in June of 2017, held incommunicado then later convicted on fabricated charges of espionage and sentenced to 15 years. In his book, ‘The Torture Camp on Paradise Street’ recounts his time in Izolyatsia. He describes the torture and mistreatment he was subjected to while in the Russian state-controlled prison.

The methods of torture have further been documented on the website Izolyatsia Must Speak. These include;

  • Denial of food, water, sleep and the opportunity to use the toilet;
  • Beating, blows with arms and legs;
  • Beating with wooden or metal sticks, rifle butts or truncheons;
  • Choking with plastic bags and waterboarding;
  • Electric shocks;
  • Mock execution;
  • Blindfolding and handcuffing the detainees for several days;
  • Dousing the detainees with cold water during interrogations;
  • Forced denudation and other forms of sexual violence;
  • Verbal abuse and threats, including threats of sexual violence and violence against the detainees’ relatives. Torture of relatives in front of prisoners is also practised.

Nobel Peace Prize and lawyer, Lauret Oleksandra Matviichuk whose organization Centre for Civil Liberties Kyiv documents illegal detentions and supports victims has further added that many atrocities occur in the facility. She says these include; Prisoners’ limbs being severed and nailed into wooden boxes, and she also reported an extreme of a prisoner’s eye being scooped out using a spoon.

These details accounts reveal the shocking realities of what numerous detainees have to endure in Izolyatsia, the Kremlin’s master detention facility.

Here are links to more about the Izolyatsia: