Wife Of Jailed Kremlin Critic Doesn’t Know If He’s Alive

Russians seek news on the whereabouts of jailed activist Ildar Dadin, who was moved to a new location over a month ago

Where is Ildar Dadin? Russians wonder where the jailed dissident is being held
Jan 05, 2017 at 1:32 PM ET

Since he was moved to a different prison just over a month ago, the wife of jailed Russian activist Ildar Dadin says she’s had no information about his new location, or whether he’s even still alive.

Dadin disappeared after a widely reported prisons’ torturing scandal sparked by him. There is no information about his whereabouts for over a month, according to his wife, who spoke to Vocativ in an exclusive interview.

“On December 2nd he was transferred from a prison in Karelia and the authorities didn’t provide us any information about his destination,” Anastasia Zotova told Vocativ. “When Ildar was transported, he gave my number to other prisoners and asked them to call me, to tell me that he is ok. However after December 5th there is no information about him. This is why we worry so much.”

She added: “Me, his sister and his mother don’t know if he is even alive.”

Dadin was the first Russian to be sentenced in 2015 over a new law that outlaws public assembly. He was sentenced to three years’ jail. The sentence was later reduced by six months. Last November, his lawyer reportedly smuggled a letter from prison to his wife, detailing abuse and torture by prison guards, a revelation that made headlines around the world. Following outrage over the revelations, Russian authorities announced they would be moving Dadin to another location. His status at present is unknown.

“In Russia guards can do anything they want to prisoners,” Zotova said. “They can beat them and they can kill them. They will not be punished for that.”

She told Vocativ she plans to collect and expose stories of prisoner abuse by in Russian jails.

At the same time, Russians have taken to social media to call for information about Dadin. The hashtag #where_is_Ildar_Dadin has been trending on Russian social media, with dissidents posting daily the number of days that pass without any news of Dadin’s fate.

Shortly after she was interviewed by Vocativ, Zotova said she was contacted by the Federal Penitentiary Service, who said she would be given his new location in two days, as he was still on his way to the new prison. She still awaits news.

Translation: “#WhereisIldarDadin  It was scary from the first moment and every day it is becoming worse”

Translation: “Then they came for me—and there was no one left to protest for me. #WhereisIldarDadin”

Translation: “We continue to ask #WhereisIldarDadin”