RusNews journalist Maria Ponomarenko, convicted under an article on disseminating “fake news” about the Russian army (clause “d” of part 2 of article 207.3 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation), spoke about torture in the colony.
In a letter addressed to the editors of RusNews, Ponomarenko writes that in IK-6 Shipunovo in the Altai Territory, prisoners live in unsanitary conditions, cannot receive medical care and regularly face searches. According to her, among those arrested was a woman “with a terrible cough, spitting up blood.” Ponomarenko herself was confiscated of all her personal belongings, including hygiene products, and was not given anything in return for a long time.
“They broke into Maria’s toilet, located opposite the surveillance camera, and set those who had already been there more than once against Masha. Each time, before a meeting with the lawyer, they conducted a search, stripping down to their underpants,” RusNews reports.
On October 11, Ponomarenko went on a hunger strike demanding an end to the bullying. The next day, as RusNews writes, she “woke up feeling terrible on the floor of the punishment cell near the battery.” For this, a report was drawn up against her, which was later canceled, but as a result, the journalist was still summoned to the commission. When she refused to go due to poor health, they began to torture her.
“As a result, two guys provided the power drive by twisting their arms into a rearing position. Sparks flew from the eyes from the pain (the shoulder joint of the right arm never fully recovered). So they dragged me barefoot across the floor of the zone, along the street, along the parade ground. The last thing, that I remember being strangled on the stairs, then my brain switched off,” writes Ponomarenko.
The journalist said that she woke up already on the street and thought that the commission had not taken place. However, colony officials claim the opposite.
“According to the employees, at the commission she stepped with her bare feet on the feet of the shod inspectors who were holding hands, and spat on the carpet. On the same day, after everything, she fainted, getting a lump on her forehead,” Ponomarenko said.
As a result, a second criminal case was opened against the woman for causing harm not dangerous to health (Part 2 of Article 321 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation). The maximum penalty under this article is up to five years in prison. Ponomarenko also said that at IK-22 in Krasnoyarsk she noticed that they were trying to accuse her of treason or justifying terrorism.
After the incident, Ponomarenko was sent for a psychiatric examination, where she was injected with unknown drugs. This was supposed to last 28 days, but a week later she was transferred to pre-trial detention center No. 1 of Barnaul. The journalist is currently in the Shipunovo temporary detention center.
Ponomarenko said that her lawyer Dmitry Shitov “never bothered to call the clinic, knowing about last year’s trash talk.” She stated that she wanted to change him to Alexandra Sadkovskaya, who achieved a transfer from the clinic back to the pre-trial detention center.
Ponomarenko was detained in April 2022 in St. Petersburg, where he was placed in custody. In February 2023, the journalist was sentenced to six years in a general regime colony because of a post about the destruction of a drama theater in Mariupol. The state prosecutor requested nine years in a general regime colony for her.