MOSCOW,, (Pakistan Point News - APP - 03rd Nov, 2016 ) - Jailed Russian activist Ildar Dadin has suffered a suspected seizure after saying he was beaten by prison staff, his wife told AFP on Thursday, adding she feared it had been caused by kicks to the head. Dadin's wife Anastasia Zotova said activists who visited Dadin in his prison in northwestern Russia on Wednesday told her they had seen him suffer a "strange" episode "like an epileptic fit".
The deputy head of Russia's prison service Valery Maksimenko, quoted by TASS state news agency, told the public chamber advisory body that Dadin fell off a chair "in a fit" while being examined by doctors Wednesday. The 34-year-old came to prominence when he was handed a two-and-a-half year sentence under a controversial law that punishes repeated participation in unsanctioned rallies, after he demonstrated against President Vladimir Putin's rule.
"A discussion has begun about whether this was an epileptic seizure or they beat him into this state," Maksimenko said, adding that Dadin was undergoing a special medical examination that would take several hours. It was not immediately clear whether Dadin had been moved to a civilian hospital from his prison in the Karelia region bordering Finland. Zotova said she hoped this would happen Thursday. Zotova said her husband had never suffered from fits in the past.
"The medics and experts I told about this told me the reason for the epilepsy could be that he was kicked in the head," she said. "I'm very nervous about my husband. I think they've done something awful to him." In a letter that Zotova published in independent Russian media this week, Dadin said that prison staff in September beat and kicked him and put his head down a toilet bowl while he was in an isolation cell. The claims initially prompted an unusually high-level reaction, with the Kremlin saying Wednesday that Putin had been informed.
Russia's Investigative Committee, which probes major cases, said Thursday it was continuing to look into the claims. It said it was studying security camera footage and had questioned Dadin, prisoners and staff. It said that so far the claims "have not been substantiated". The prison service has denied the allegations, on Wednesday releasing a report from "independent" local medics who said Dadin had no visible signs of injury.