The Kirovo-Chepetsky District Court in Kirov Region will decide on June 15, 2016, on releasing Amur Khakulov from prison on health grounds. Khakulov suffers from a number of incurable illnesses, chief of which is chronic kidney failure in terminal phase.
“Doctors recommend peritoneal dialysis as the most suitable method for substituting for Khakulov’s kidney functions”, said Diana Kostina, lawyer with Russian Justice Initiative. “This procedure involves introducing into the abdomen via a pipe a dialysis solution that remains there for 4-12 hours. This procedure is simpler than haemodialysis, but it requires sterile conditions and we fear that this could be problematic in the prison colony environment. We applied to the Kirovo-Chepetsky District Court in Kirov Region, and we hope that they will decide on Khakulov’s release, taking into account the state of his health, all the more so as the medical commission of May 4, 2016, concluded that Khakulov’s illness is an obstacle to serving his sentence”.
Amur Khakulov was found guilty of involvement in the attack in Nalchik in October 2005 (trial of the 58). He spent more than 10 years in Remand Prison No. 1 in Nalchik, waiting for trial and for the sentence to take effect. While still at the remand prison, he was found to be suffering from chronic kidney failure, chronic kidney disease and other illnesses at the end of 2014, but there was practically no treatment of serious illnesses at the remand prison. This prompted Khakulov’s wife to turn to lawyers at Russian Justice Initiative in August 2015. She said that Khakulov was not receiving qualified medical assistant or vitally important medicines, in violation of the law on healthcare’s provisions. For nearly a year, she bought the medicine Ketosteril herself. This medicine costs around 3,000 roubles per package. Khakulov needs 5 packages a month, and this was more than the Khakulov family could afford.
“The failure to provide medical aid in Khakulov’s case violates Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which prohibits torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment. By the time Khakulov’s wife contacted Russian Justice Initiative, Khakulov’s health had worsened greatly, and so, along with work at the national level, we applied to the European Court of Human Rights to have urgent measures taken, using Rule 39 of the Rules of Court”, said Diana Kostina.
Russian Justice Initiative has handled Khakulov’s case since September 2015 in the national courts, and in September and then October 2015 applied to the ECHR in connection with Khakulov’s worsening condition. A series of measures and actions made it possible to ensure that Khakulov started receiving some medical treatment and Ketosteril in the Nalchik remand prison. Khakulov’s representatives and lawyers demanded that he receive regular medical assistance from kidney specialists, undergo kidney substitution treatment, and that a medical commission evaluate his state of health and that his sentence be revised in accordance with the conclusions.
The Russian Supreme Court delivered an appeal ruling on the Trial of the 58 on January 28, 2016. Amur Khakulov was sentenced to 20 years’ imprisonment in a strict regime colony. The court did not take into account Khakulov’s state of health and degree of disability, despite the numerous appeals on the part of his lawyer, supported by medical evidence.
“Khakulov’s representatives and lawyers were concerned about the difficult transport conditions and that Khakulov would be imprisoned in a colony far from his wife, who had been bringing him medicines and vitally necessary food prepared according to his dietary requirements, and so, on February 9, 2016, we filed a request to postpone the start of the sentence being served, but this was refused”, Diana Kostina said. “On February 10, 2016, we applied to the European Court of Human Rights. The Court examined this application (No. 47061/15) under its priority policy and has already sent the result to the Russian Government”.
Khakulov was sent to Kirov Region to start serving his sentence on March 15, 2016. Following requests from his representatives, the authorities at prison colony LIU-12 provided him with haemodialysis treatment. He is taken 2-4 times a week to Kirov Regional Clinical Hospital for essential medical procedures. But the prison colony cannot provide the kind of diet Khakulov needs, and its medical resources are limited. The most recent conclusion by the head doctor at Kirov Regional Clinical Hospital states that, “It would be best to have the Russian Federal Corrections Service medical service settle the question of a kidney transplant or ongoing haemodialysis in other regions”.
It was not until May 2016, after efforts by Khakulov’s representatives and lawyers, that a medical commission was established and gave a diagnosis: chronic glomerulonephritis leading to secondary sclerosis, chronic stage III kidney insufficiency, symptomatic arterial hypertension, mild chronic anaemia, and retinal angiopathy as a secondary illness. The medical commission stressed that Khakulov “requires kidney substitution therapy for life”.
Based on these conclusions, the medical commission said that Khakulov’s illness made it not possible for him to remain in the prison colony, and gave the recommendation that he be released on the grounds of illness that prevented his being kept in detention.