17 November 2016
The Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation has allowed life-prisoners extended visits from near relatives, according to a ruling published by the Court.
A complaint was brought to the Constitutional Court by a life prisoner, Nikolai Korolev, and his wife. They believe that the ban on extended conjugal visits breaks their constitutional right to a family life.
The Constitutional Court came down on the side of the applicants and ruled that prior to the necessary changes in legislation, the opportunity should be provided for those sentenced to life sentences to have one extended visit a year.
The Russian Federation appears to be the only country in Europe where there is a category of prisoners for whom extended visits are not provided.
On 30th June, 2015, the European Court for Human Rights acknowledged the absence of extended visits as a violation of human rights in the case Khoroshenko v. Russia (Application no. 41418/04). In his complaint, Khoroshenko indicated the violation of his rights to visits from his relatives while serving his sentence.
The ECtHR, having considered the case, acknowledged the violation of the applicant’s right to respect for privacy and family life, as secured by Article 8 of the European Convention for Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms. According to his lawyer, Oksana Preobrazhenskaya, who is coordinator at the Centre for the Promotion of International Protection in Strasbourg, the basic aim of this case was the attempt to make sure that for the first ten years of life imprisonment, prisoners would not lose contact with society and contact with the family was the means to achieve this.
The ruling by the Constitutional Court can be read here or in full in the attached file.
Translated by Frances Robson
HRO.org in English >