At the Sokyryanska Penal Colony prisoners received worm-ridden bread


The hotline on business issues of the Chernivtsi City Centre for the protection of private businesspeople and small enterprises (hereafter the Centre) received information from a reliable source regarding the penal colony No. 67 in the town of Sokyryany in the Chernivtsi region.  The source stated that prisoners serving their sentence in section T3 (cell-type prison conditions) on 11 August 2006 were given worm-ridden bread with their dinner. On their demand that the bread be changed, the duty officer helping the Head of the Colony took no action and instead said that those serving sentences should not pay attention to such a “food supplement” (!) and continue their dinner.

From Friday (11/08) to the day of writing (15/08), 100 men have been on hunger strike. They have not written an official statement to the Head of the Colony Viktor Stanislavovych Lipinsky, they have simply been refusing food.

The prisoners have only one demand – that the quality of the food is improved.

Ihor Kukharchuk sent an urgent letter to the Head of the Chernivtsi Regional Division of the Department for the Execution of Punishments Vasyl Solovyov in which he spoke of “mass violations of human rights in Colony No. 67” and asked that the circumstances be investigated and measures taken to resolve the conflict, and that the Board of the Centre be informed of the measures taken within the legally stipulated period.

Time passed …

A little later Ihor Kukharchuk informed “Bookinfo” that he had received a telephone call on the “Hotline” today saying that at 13.30 on 15 August 2006 the hunger strike by 100 men at Colony No. 67 had been suspended.

This was made possible thanks to intervention in the conflict by the Head of the Head of the Chernivtsi Regional Division of the Department for the Execution of Punishments Vasyl Solovyov.  Information about the situation which had arisen in the Colony had been passed on to the Head of the Chernivtsi Regiional State Administration Volodymyr Kulish, the Head of the Chernivtsi Regional Council and the media.

Thanks to the joint action of the authorities, the media and the public, the conflict was settled. The Head of Colony No. 67 Viktor  Lipinsky has promised that there will be no recurrence of the incident with the food, but cited insufficient financing of his institution as a factor. The Hotline has established a permanent link with Colony 67 and will ensure that any other violations of human rights are communicated to the authorities and to the public.

The only bemusing aspect of this is that Mr Kukharchuk sent both letters to the media only today, 15 August. Does this mean that if the issue had not found a positive resolution for the prisoners (they had been on hunger strike for four days!) the press would not have learned anything about it?!

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