27 January 2016, Wednesday
Russia’s Supreme Court refuses release for severely ill prisoner

Today the Supreme Court of Russia refused to release Amur Khakulov, a severely ill prisoner. Khakulov, who is accused of participating in the armed attack on the city of Nalchik in 2005, developed a kidney disease due to poor incarceration conditions at the detention center. Because of the lack of the prescribed medication in detention, his illness progressed and a year ago he was found to be chronically ill. At present, he is in extremely grave condition.

The medical commission of State Clinic No. 1 of the Kabardino-Balkaria region, which by law is empowered to decide whether or not an illness is compatible with incarceration, has concluded in this case that Khakulov’s condition is not compatible with continued detention.

The commission made its decision on the basis of Khakulov’s medical tests, which showed that his kidneys are not functionally properly, which has caused severe swelling of his extremities and rendered him unable to move. He suffers from constant vomiting and convulsions.

If Khakulov does not receive hemodialysis—a procedure as yet unavailable in detention— his life may be at risk.

In spite of this, the Supreme Court sent a letter to the clinic saying that the medical statement “contains unclear and self-contradictory conclusions.”

Khakulov’s attorney Olga Gnezdilova stated, “It is a matter of hours now, and—unless Khakulov has access to hemodialysis—it may be too late. The Supreme Court is making a big mistake by ignoring the medical conclusion.”

Tomorrow, 28 January, Amur Khakulov’s conviction in connection with the criminal trial in which he is an accused will enter into force. Following this, the physicians’ medical conclusion will no longer be valid since it applies only so long as Khakulov is in pretrial detention. Khakulov will have to be examined again in the prison colony to which he will eventually be sent to serve his sentence.  However, given that he will be transported across a great distance in a prison van or railroad car allotting less than one square meter per person, he will not be able to be accompanied by medical personnel, and thus the conditions of transfer pose a further grave risk to his health. 

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