Political Prisoner in Ukraine Dmitry Vasilets: How to Survive in Jail

Translated by Ollie Richardson & Angelina Siard

19:37:45
31/05/2017

politvyazni.in.ua


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As I, on the whim of the regime, have been in a pre-trial detention center for over one and half years, I want to tell you about life in prison. It is necessary to immediately understand that I am sat in the most highest security jail that exists, i.e. in a “chamber system”, where the people are generally murderers and robbers. Practically everything is forbidden for me! If I was convicted, I would have the right to meet my relatives for three days, to limited Internet, to communication with prisoners from other cells, to the opportunity to call a relative, to free movement within the confines of the prison territory, etc., like in the movies. And as I am not convicted, I am sat in the most high security prison — 23 hours in the cell and a 1 hour walk, and like that year after year.

I sat in the big cell for 15 people, and also in the small one, for 3 people, and everywhere there is the same thing – those who are around you will do what you allow them to do. It is for me in this sense simpler if when the occasion arises I always make it clear that I can use force easily, in many respects probably because my instinct of self-preservation atrophied, I believe it is because of continuous clashes during my childhood in the village. That’s why in the cell everything goes my way 99% of the time, although I try not to restrict too much my cellmates in watching TV, smoking, or the games backgammon and dominoes, I’m not a monster as it seems to me, and therefore we get along amicably. But also I witnessed how people who couldn’t stand up for themselves were exposed to systematic beatings. I know this because these people were often transferred to me in the cell, because during a year in the cell where I “sat” nobody was beaten, and these people in my cell were in safety. In general the administration of course does everything so that people are not beaten in cells and surveys this as it can, but not many are stupid enough to report to the administration of the prison that they were beaten, it is mostly done by relatives who, during the court hearings, see the results of beatings.

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That’s why if heaven forbid you find yourself in a pre-trial detention cente – immediately forget about fear. If you allow yourself to be humiliated once, subsequently you will be humiliated one thousand times. Remember that all people are mortal and everyone understands this, even murderers.

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