Wife Of Russian Prisoner Dadin Says Fight With Cellmate A Provocation

The wife of jailed Russian activist Ildar Dadin, who has claimed he has been tortured and beaten in prison, says penitentiary authorities provoked a brawl between her husband and a cellmate in order to intimidate him.

Anastasia Zotova told Current Time TV that authorities recently transferred an inmate convicted of a violent crime into Dadin's cell. Zotova told the Russian-language network run by RFE/RL and VOA that the inmate began attacking Dadin without any provocation and her husband defended himself after he understood that prison guards were not going to intervene.

The Russian prison service FSIN reported on November 17 that Dadin had brawled with a cellmate in a dispute "over a water-boiling device."

On November 18, Zotova posted on Facebook that she has "reliable information" that prison authorities have asked prosecutors to open a new criminal case against Dadin for assault, which is punishable by up to two years in prison.

Dadin, 34, was the first person convicted under a Russian law criminalizing participation in more than one unsanctioned protest. He is serving a 2 1/2 year sentence at a penal colony in the northwestern town of Segezha.

Earlier this month, he published an open letter in which he said he and other prisoners had been beaten and tortured at the prison. He has rejected appeals by his wife and lawyers to request a transfer to another prison, saying that he did not want to leave other prisoners undefended.

"I, of course, want him to be transferred to another prison and I will demand that together with his lawyers, mother, sister, friends and relatives," Zotova said. "Because if he stays there, they will kill him."