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Commissioner’s representatives disproved tortures in Crimean SIZO

11 August 2014

In the end of July, officials from the Human Rights Commissioner Office in Russia examined SIZO-1 of the FPS[i] of Russia in the Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol and detected some violations in the prisoners’ confinement conditions. However, the violations were not connected with their alleged wish to keep Ukrainian citizenship.

On 20 to 22 July 2014, officials from the Human Rights Commissioner Office in Russia visited SIZO-1 of the FPS of Russia in the Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol to monitor the observance of rights of the detained and to verify the data provided by the Ukrainian Parliament Commissioner for Human Rights Valeriya Lutkovskaya that allegedly over 400 people in custody were subject to cruel and humiliating treatment in the said establishment because of their wish to keep Ukrainian citizenship. However, the persons who had announced of such wish explained that neither they nor any other person in custody in the SIZO-1 had been exposed to any torture or cruel and humiliating treatment.

In addition, in the conditions of the SIZO-1 it is not possible to arrange signing of a group appeal from 400 people kept in separated cells of the detention centre with none of the supervisors to know about it.

The human rights monitoring in the detention centre revealed that no measures have been taken to repair or reconstruct the facilities for the whole post-Soviet period. So, at present the confinement conditions do not correspond to the generally recognized international human rights standards and the Russian legislation.

It is stuffy in the cells, the nutrition unit equipment, and washing and laundry facilities are entirely worn out; power supply, plumbing, heating, and sewage systems are in a critical condition.

The detention centre is overcrowded almost twice and contains about 200 accused of minor offences with insignificant level of public danger, small and medium gravity crimes. At the same time, requalification of criminal cases into the Russian legislation has been delayed and transfer of the prisoners with sentences in force beyond Crimea borders has not been arranged yet.

Public awareness campaigns related to the entry of Crimea into the Russian legislation have not been properly managed. There is a shortage of Russian legal acts’ editions.

Considering the situation in the SIZO-1, the Commissioner for Human Rights in the Russian Federation addressed to the Director of the FPS of Russia with a request to take urgent measures to start constructing new detention centres on the peninsula to discharge the existing ones.

[1] Explanatory note: a SIZO is a pre-trial establishment under the authority of the Ministry of Justice

[1] Explanatory note: the FPS is the Federal Penitentiary Service

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