Day 675 - Paul Whelan - IK-17 Mordovia Russia - November 5, 2020 - Prison Inflicts Sleep Deprivation

Paul has been in more regular communication now that he has been moved to the prison camp in Mordovia He has been at the camp for about 2 months. Paul has had 15-minute calls to our parents and with staff at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow. Paul was also able to let us know that he is being woken up in approximately 2-hour intervals all night, every night.

Someone in the Russian system has deemed Paul a flight risk. It is not clear why. Paul has requested an explanation from the warden at Camp IK-17. The sleep deprivation did not start when he arrived at the camp but only in the past few weeks.

It is well understood that one does not simply walk out of Mordovia. It is ridiculous to label someone like Paul - a foreigner lacking in money and language skills, let alone family and other connections in Russia - a flight risk. Surely, if Paul is one, so is every prisoner who would choose to be somewhere other than in prison.

The sleep deprivation by Camp IK-17 guards is a human rights abuse by robbing Paul of his right to adequate rest.* We are grateful that the U.S. Embassy has filed a diplomatic note with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Their advocacy for Paul is vital as his wrongful detention stretches past 22 months. So far, neither the Ministry of Foreign Affairs nor the prison has responded to Paul's or the Embassy's concerns.

[Further reading on sleep deprivation in prisons, "adequate rest" and the theoretical Russian rule that a prisoner should have 6 hours uninterrupted sleep: Befogging reason, undermining will: Understanding sleep deprivation as torture and other ill-treatment in international law (pp. 17-18) ]