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Russian Committee for Prevention of Torture gets Czech prize

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Prague, Feb 16 (CTK) – The Russian non-governmental Committee for the Prevention of Torture will receive the annual prize Homo Homini for human rights activists from the Czech People in Need NGO, it said in a press release on Thursday.

The committee helps the people who are the victims of police brutality, torture and arbitrariness committed not only by Russian authorities.

Its founder and current head Igor Kalyapin will receive the award at the opening of the One World, festival of human rights documentaries in Prague on March 6.

“The Committee for the Prevention of Torture performs an extremely complicated work in very difficult conditions,” People in Need director Simon Panek said.

“It documents the cases of torture, helping the victims actively, risking its own security,” Panek said.

The organisation helps investigate the cases of torture, providing legal aid to its victims.

“Thanks to it, 793 illegal decisions have been revoked, 127 sentenced persons were released from prison and it had 51 million roubles adjudged in compensation to the victims,” Panek said.

Their members often face danger.

Last year, the Chechen branch of the committee was attacked by masked armed men. With police passively watching, the assailants destroyed its office, plundered the flats of the staff and vandalised their parked cars.

Kalyapin, too, fell prey to police violence.

“In Russia, you can hold any position, but you are not safe from torture,” Kalyapin has said.

“All we need are two things: torture should become unacceptable to Russian society and the investigation into breach of human rights should be efficient,” he added.

People in Need awarded the Homo Homini Prize in 1994 for the first time.

In the past, the prize went to the personalities such as Azeri lawyer Intigam Iliyev, Kyrgyz defender of unjustly prosecuted people Azimzhan Askarov, Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo, who later won the Nobel Peace Prize, Cuban Catholic priest Oswaldo Paya Sardinas and Syrian teacher Suad Naufal, who openly criticised both the Bashar Assad regime and Islamic State.

Last year, the group awarded 11 Cuban dissidents.

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