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Lawyers publish report on torture of prisoners in Russia

4 March 2013 

Source: (info)
The Association of Russian Lawyers for Human Rights has published a report on torture in Russia, that has been submitted to the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers. The Committee oversees the execution of judgments of the European Court of Human Rights.

According to lawyer Yevgeny Arkhipov the basis of the report was monitoring begun after the issuance of the 10th January 2012 judgment by the European Court of Human Rights in Ananyev and Others vs Russia, in which the Court ordered Russia to take general measures in respect of conditions of in which prisoners were held. The Court found that Russia had committed violations of Articles 3 and 13 of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms. 

According to Arkhipov, during the period from 15th February to 31st July 2012, specialists received 170 complaints and appeals from various Russian regions containing information about ill-treatment and torture, arbitrary arrests and prolonged detention on remand, and a lack of effective means for legal protection in respect of detention conditions.

Experts from the Association have divided treatment into four categories: torture during detention - the group in the ‘Mikheev vs Russia’ case, conditions in pre-trial detention centres - the group in the ‘Fedotov vs Russia’ case, conditions in detention centres - the group in the ‘Ananyev and Others vs Russia’ case, and conditions in Penal Colonies - the group in the ‘Dedovski and Others vs Russia’ case.

Rosbalt reports that in 2012, the European Court recommended that the Russian Federation authorities develop a comprehensive approach to the solution of overcrowding in prisons. In its judgment, the Court noted that the basic cause of overcrowding is the excessive use of pre-trial detention as a preventative measure and the excessive length of pre-trial detention. In addition, according to the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, the unnecessarily wide use of pre-trial detention is a structural problem in Russia. 

The lawyers’ Association stated that in 2013, the European Court of Human Rights again ordered Russian authorities to take measures to eliminate “inhuman or degrading” conditions in pre-trial detention centres. Lawyer Yevgeny Arkhipov stressed that, according to the Court judgment, prisoners should only be remanded in custody in cases of serious crimes, and detention should be the exception, not the norm.