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Human rights defenders call for an end to courts’ “automatic approval” of prosecutors’ requests for pre-trial detention

1 March 2013 

Source: HRO.org (info
The Rosbalt news agency reports that the Moscow Helsinki Group and the Movement for Human Rights have appealed to the chairman of the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation, Vyacheslav Lebedev, to initiate a resolution of the Plenum of the Supreme Court on the use by the courts of pre-trial detention. Human rights defenders report that at present the courts display “a taste and a partiality” for this practice. 

“Very often we are convinced of the groundlessness and superficiality of the reasoning behind court decisions to limit the liberty of an individual, and in particular the use of pre-trial detention, reasoning which sometimes is simply laughable,” they write. 

“We know that over three years ago Plenum of the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation issued a resolution on the use of pre-trial detention which, it seemed, gave the necessary legal basis for the protection of the rights of people under investigation from unwarranted detention. However, apparently, the provisions of this resolution were not sufficiently specific and this was used by the courts to justify virtually ignoring the Plenum’s demands,” the authors of the letter say. 

“We call on you to initiate a new code of practice on the use of pre-trial detention by the courts, and that the Plenum of the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation adopt a new resolution laying down clear, unambiguous and imperative guidelines for the courts, thereby ensuring that pre-trial detention is only used when there are appropriate circumstances; overcoming any partiality or preference for the use of custody by the courts; and ensuring that the courts resolutely demand that investigating officers and the Public Prosecutor’s Office provide evidence of the absolute necessity for the use of custody in a particular case,” said the human rights defenders. 
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