London, May 19 : English football fans would do well to behave themselves when Manchester United and Chelsea face other for the Champions League title on Wednesday, for if they don't, they could end up in Butyrka, the rat infested, disease ridden, gang run fortress.
As The Mirror quoted one foreign diplomat as saying: "Conditions are far harsher than in Western countries. They are full of dangers and it is not recommended that you end up there."
Here prisoners sleep in shifts because cells designed for 20 inmates often house 80. They are damp and, in stifling hot in summer.
Aids and TB are rife - 37,000 prisoners in Russia are HIV positive. Twenty per cent of inmates are intravenous drug users and more than 60 per cent of them share needles.
Inmates survive on porridge for breakfast, then soup, salt and water for lunch and more porridge for dinner plus a hunk of bread and one sugar lump.
There are regular beatings and last month prisoners rioted in protest.
Prisoners shower infrequently with hard, greying soap and in full view of their cellmates. They are not allowed to send clothes to the prison laundry.
Many spend years there waiting for their cases to come to trial.
In the past, Butyrka was the first port of call for dissidents dragged from their beds in the dead of night under the Soviet regime. They were later chained together and marched on foot to the gulags of Siberia.
Soccer chiefs last night said Moscow was not likely to witness the violent scenes suffered by Manchester last Monday. Red Square will host a football festival but drinking and smoking are banned there.
Manchester United and Chelsea supporters are paying an average of 2,000 pounds each for the Moscow trip. Hotels are charging up to 500-pounds-a-night and black market ticket prices are going for 1,600 pounds.
Story first published: Monday, May 19, 2008, 17:16 [IST]
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