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Armed men in masks in Simferopol SIZO

07.05.2011

 

Reports have come in from various sources that around 40 Special Forces fighters of the State Penitentiary Service armed with machine guns have been brought into the Simferopol SIZO [Pre-trail detention centre].  Relatives and prisoners themselves have reported the men’s presence, saying that they are moving about with machine guns, grenades and other weapons.

Following such reports the State Penitentiary Service issued a press release saying that institutions of the State Department for the Execution of Sentences have been placed on heightened security in the Crimea in connection with the May holidays – from 30 April to 10 May, inclusive, with this heightened regime coded “Shield”,

After numerous approaches from human rights activists and journalists to the State Penitentiary Service asking about the grounds for having men with machine guns and grenades in the SIZO, confirmation that the men were there came, but with denial that they were armed.

On 6 May, reports have been coming in, unverified, but from various sources, that the Special Forces officers have beaten prisoners. 

Attempts are presently underway to find out what is going out at the SIZO. 

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