Opposition activist Ildar Dadin has been released from prison. The release came after a delay of several days as court paperwork made its way to the Altai IK-5 penal colony in western Siberia.
Dadin was imprisoned in a highly controversial case. Arrested for one-man political pickets —and convicted for "multiple breaches of protest regulation" — it was the first case of its kind. After half a year under house arrest, the activist was sentenced to three years in a penal colony in Karelia, Russia's Far North. This harsh sentence was later reduced by six months.
In November 2016, the case returned to the national headlines after Dadin complained of torture. In letters to his wife, the activist claimed prison guards at the Karelia colony had hung him by his wrists and threatened him with rape. An official investigation failed to reveal evidence — though Dadin says scars were deliberately covered. After the intervention of human rights ombudsman Tatyana Moskalkova, the activist was secretly transferred to the Altai colony.
On Wednesday, Feb. 22, following an earlier Constitutional Court ruling, the Russian Supreme Court quashed Dadin's sentence. It took four days for court documents to reach the colony, however, which led to a tense delay for family and friends.
Speaking to journalists outside the prison, Dadin said he would continue his activism " fight this deceitful regime ... so that human rights are respected in Russia as they are in the civilized world," the Novaya Gazeta newspaper reported. He said he would take a break of up to six months before returning to work.
"The gangsters and presidential minions — like the head of the Kareliya prison — have to be held responsible," he is reported as saying.