Mikhail Trepashkin, the dissident lawyer and former FSB colonel arrested for his extensive activities challenging Moscow’s official versions of events related to the Chechen wars (see Chechnya Weekly, December 15), has accused his Moscow jailkeepers of torturing him. According to a December 27 article on the website Newsru.com, Aleksandr Goldfarb of the Foundation for Civil Liberties told the radio station Ekho Moskvy that during the period from November 30 to December 20, Trepashkin was subjected to a series of abuses. They included deprivation of food and water for periods up to forty-eight hours; deprivation of sleep, with only two hours for each twenty-four-hour period over the course of a week; and extended confinement in sub-freezing temperatures. The torture, said Goldfarb, took place with the knowledge and consent of the judge in Trepashkin’s secret trial, Sergei Sedov.
On January 2 the website Grani.ru relayed an update from Goldfarb, who said that on December 30 Trepashkin had been transferred from his overcrowded cell (which contained three prisoners for each sleeping berth) to a better one. In exchange for this transfer and for a promise to end the torture, according to Goldfarb, Trepashkin had been forced to sign a statement denying that he had any complaints about the conditions of his imprisonment.
Goldfarb’s foundation is funded by the controversial, self-exiled tycoon Boris Berezovsky.