Apr 1, 2021
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They won’t let you die. How does the hunger strike in the prisons of Russia and the United States end?

Alexey Navalny went on a hunger strike in the colony. Information about this was published by his associates on the oppositionist’s Instagram page. Navalny demands that a visiting doctor be allowed to see him in connection with his complaints of severe pain in his back and legs. Earlier, the prison doctor who examined the oppositionist did not find any special health problems in him.

Help with vitamins

This is not the first case of a political hunger strike among the wards of the FSIN. The Ukrainian pilot used the same method of defending her innocence. Nadezhda Savchenko, convicted of the murder of Russian journalists, and later exiled to Ukraine. She went on hunger strike for 83 days, but after such a long “prison diet” she did not lose weight, but, on the contrary, recovered considerably. True, the employees of the FSIN gave her glucose injections for almost two months to maintain her health. The Ukrainian director also demonstratively “starved for the truth” Oleg Sentsov, convicted of preparing a terrorist attack in Crimea. His “record” is 145 days. He also failed to lose weight with such prolonged fasting. They say that both Ukrainians actually did eat, but only certain foods.

Experts say that it is impossible to fast for so many days without critical damage to health. According to doctors, irreversible changes in the body occur already on the 45th day of a real hunger strike, when a person only takes water. In particular, the kidneys stop working, the brain functions are disrupted, and the person eventually dies. If a starving person not only drinks water, but also takes vitamins, then he can hold out for up to 70 days. Some say up to 100, depending on health and fat reserves.

But it is now impossible to die of hunger in the FSIN system. The prison administration has no right to leave a starving person lying on his bunk and dying on the sly. This does not mean that any rebel demands will be met. Just a starving person is injected drugs intravenously through a dropper or through a tube. In this case, force is used if the protester obstructs the force-feeding.

In the modern history of Russia, such force-feeding was used by employees of the Matrosskaya Tishina SIZO to the ex-head of the Serpukhov district of the Moscow region, Alexander Shestunwho was on a hunger strike. This was announced by the prisoner himself in his letter. Then the press secretary of the former official, Vlad Rusin, clarified that Shestun was “fed through a tube and made droppers.”

The oppositionist avoided this fate Sergey Udaltsov, who in 2014 was on a hunger strike for 25 days, protesting against a sentence of 4.5 years in prison for the riots on Bolotnaya Square. Under threat of force-feeding, he ended his hunger strike.

Will be sent to death row

It is interesting in this connection to look at the experience of other countries. According to member of the Public Chamber of the Russian Federation Maria Butina, who knows firsthand the rules in American prisons, it is a very bad idea to starve prisoners in the United States. This has happened a couple of times in the last 5 years. “He will not force-feed, as well as fulfill your demands,” the social activist explains.

“The prison rulebook, which is handed out to everyone upon acceptance, states in black and white that protests in prisons are prohibited and that violators will face serious consequences,” says Butina. – In 2016 and 2018, American prisoners decided to test the prison administration by going on a hunger strike, refusing to work and putting forward demands. Which included “improving prison conditions, returning to the parole system (it is not available in federal prisons, if someone doesn’t know), improving the quality of medical care, prohibiting the use of torture, placing a person in a punishment cell for long periods and ending deprivation of voting rights about 6 millions of Americans convicted of serious crimes and deprived of the right to vote after their release for the rest of their days. ” One of the most important demands was – an immediate end to forced labor in exchange for little or no wages at all – a widespread practice in US prisons, which the organizers of the strike call a modern form of slavery. But for the rebels, it all ended very sadly. ”

No, no one began to feed them through a tube or drip them vitamins. The authorities used a different method of fighting the hunger strike: “For three days, as it should be, the daredevils who decided that they would be able to“ push through ”the administration were offered food on trays. And then some were sent to solitary confinement cells to “exclude contact with other prisoners,” the rest were shackled and distributed to prisons with more severe conditions of detention. For example, for “death row”, those who face the death penalty. And there are many prisons in America – enough for everyone, it’s not for nothing that this is the most “sitting” country in the world with the largest number of prisoners per capita, ”says Maria Butina. – Further, of course, they deprived of the right to correspondence, phone calls, the right to use the prison store, receive books, visit the library, and the entire prison was closed on lockdown, banning the visits of all visitors. After 18 days, all the problems were settled, all the prisoners stopped the hunger strike, however, the punishment for each case was brought to an end – for many years they were left in solitary confinement and in high security prisons. There were no cases of death from hunger, but even if someone decided to starve to the end, please, the prison is only obliged to write a paper that, they say, does not want, as it wants, thereby relieving itself of responsibility for the likely death of a prisoner. ” …

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