Human Rights Council says rights defenders should have automatic right of access to pre-trial detention facilities and prisons

posted 26 Feb 2017, 09:50 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 26 Feb 2017, 09:56 ]
16 February 2017


The Presidential Council for Civil Society and Human Rights will ask the State Duma to amend current legislation to permit members of the Presidential Council for Civil Society and Human Rights to visit penitentiary institutions without special permission from the Federal Penitentiary Service.

The head of the Council, Mikhail Fedotov, explained this, Rosbalt reports citing RBK. The chair of the Presidential Council for Civil Society and Human Rights recalled that in the last week the Federal Penitentiary Service refused to permit members of the Council to visit Karelian prisons from which human rights activists have received reports of torture.

The chair of the Council reported that the Deputy Director of the Federal Penitentiary Service, Valery Boyarinev, in response to a request by human rights activists, remarked that “members of the Council are not entitled to visit the pre-trial detention facilities located in prisons to monitor observance of the law.”

The head of the Council explained that current legislation does not establish a right to prohibit inspections of places of detention, but at the same time does not lay down that inspectors can do so visit these facilities without the permission of the Federal Penitentiary Service. “We sent the request beforehand, as we’ve always done, and each time we’ve received a completely positive response. In this instance, something went wrong,” said Fedotov.

“There is only one way out of this situation – propose that the State Duma amends the law and adds to the list of people who have automatic access to places of detention the members of the Presidential Human Rights Council. In accordance with the regulations of the Council, we are obliged to report regularly to the President on human rights in the country. We will have to tell the President that we cannot carry out the mission assigned to us, because we are not allowed in the prison colony,” said the head of the Council.

According to Fedotov, the Council will prepare a report for the President on this situation, which will also contain such a proposal.

Translated by Kate Goodby