1. Each State Party shall undertake to prevent in any territory under its jurisdiction other acts of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment which do not amount to torture as defined in article I, when such acts are committed by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity. In particular, the obligations contained in articles 10, 11, 12 and 13 shall apply with the substitution for references to torture of references to other forms of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.
2. The provisions of this Convention are without prejudice to the provisions of any other international instrument or national law which prohibits cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment or which relates to extradition or expulsion.
Conditions of detention in pre-trial detention centers (SIZO)
16.1. Having read the 3rd Periodical Report of the Russian Federation, the Committee expressed concern about the terrible conditions in the pre-trial detention centers. The conditions are made even worse by the fact that the cells windows are protected by the metal blinds that prevent the natural light and the fresh air from getting into the cells, making ventilation impossible. The Committee recommended improving the conditions in pre-trial establishments so that they comply with the Convention requirements.
16.2. The authorities of the Russian Federation recognized the problem of inhuman conditions in the pre-trial establishments as the most acute one, and during the last four years have taken a number of measures to improve the situation. It must be noted that the efforts made to reduce the number of people kept in custody before trial, the building of the new pre-trial establishments and the repairs of the old ones together with the increase in budget funding for mentioned purposed have brought notable result. Human rights organization visiting penitentiary institutions noted the improvement of the conditions of detention republics of Komi, Marii El, Mordovia and Tatarstan, in Krasnodar, Krasnoyarsk and Perm Krais and in Irkytsk and Orlov Regions.
The Kazan Human Rights Center reports, for instance, that in the Republic of Tatarstan the metal blinds have been removed from all SIZOs windows, which provides the access of natural lighting and fresh air into the cells.
In Republic of Mordovia during the last 2-3 years the new building of pre-trial detention center (SIZO-13/1) was built. The said establishment has cells that accommodate 2-4 people. The cells provide for no less than 4 square meters per person. The establishment is equipped with adequate medical facilities (photoroentgenograph, dental care instruments, etc). The “Social Partnership Foundation” and the Mordovian Republican Human Rights Center mention that in the said establishment the attitude of staff to the detainees have improved considerably.
The Yorshkar-Ola organization “Man and Law” reports that in the Marii El Republic there are less people in the pre-trial detention facilities that it is possible according to the set capacity limit.
16.3. Taking into consideration all the above, it must be noted however, that the flow of information from the authorities, human rights organizations visiting penitentiary institutions, prisoners, their relatives and advocates, testifies that on many parameters the conditions in pre-trial detention centers still do not fully comply with the principles of humanity and respect to human dignity.
The problem of SIZOs’ overcrowding still remains
16.4. Despite all the efforts made that were aimed at reduction of the number of the prisoners and building new pre-trial centers, they remain overcrowded and this problem has not yet been completely solved. The authorities themselves point this problem out. Thus, the Prosecutor General of the Russian Federation in his report on the Prosecution System activity in 2004 mentioned that in republics Buryatia, Chuvashia and Tuva, in Nizhniy Novgorod, Moscow and Chita regions as well as in Moscow and St. Petersburg, some SIZOs and cells are still two times overcrowded.
16.5. It is clear that the further actions must be taken to solve the problem of overcrowded pre-trial establishments. On March 17, 2006, Mr. Kalinin, the Director of the Federal Penitentiary Service in annual report
, said that Service plans further programs on building new SIZOs and reconstructing the old ones. At the same time Mr. Kalinin reported that in the year 2005 the number of people put in SIZO considerably exceeded the forecasted figures and that by the end of the year the number had increased by 15 thousands people. According to his information, the intensive growth of the number of prisoners in SIZO will continue into 2006 – during January and February of 2006 it increased by 5-6 thousand people. Mr. Kalinin expressed his concern about the existing judicial practice when a person is sent to custody for minor crimes. This shows that in order to improve the situation in SIZOs, the Russian authorities must take measures in order to change the existing practices of arrest.
Bad conditions in SIZOs
16.6. In general, when evaluating the results of programs on renovating of old SIZOs and building new ones, one can call them positive, while keeping in mind that they do not solve all the problems of making the pre-trial institutions comply with the health and dignity requirements. All the projects on building new SIZOs and renovating of old ones are carried out in accordance with the current legal norms that state that a sanitary spatial norm per person should be 4 square meters, while the European Committee against Torture maintains that the area per person in pre-trial establishment should be no less than 6 meters. Moreover, the norm existing in Russia is unacceptable because the prisoner spends 24 hours in the cell, except 1,5 hours when they are out for a walk, and the term that the person spends in SIZO may exceed one year.
16.7. However, even the Russian legal standard was not always taken into consideration when renovating the SIZO premises.
In February 2004, the delegation of the International Helsinki Federation examined the newly renovated cell in Moscow SIZO No.2 (
Butyrki). While noting the sufficient natural light availability, good ventilation, heating and new furniture, the delegation also noticed that while the area of the room was about 45-50 square meters, there were 22 bunk beds. The size of the room is obviously not sufficient for such a number of prisoners – it will be about 2 meters per person. Besides, despite the fact that the today’s procedure requires separating the toilet from the living area by a partition, the toilet nevertheless was still not isolated from the living space.
16.8. It must also be mentioned that not all the premises of SIZO have been renovated. In the older quarters where prisoners are also kept one can see dirt, cram, lack of fresh air and natural light. This, in particular, was witnessed by a Human Rights Commissar of the Council of Europe during his visit of the Russian Federation in July and September 2004.
16.9. The problems connected with complying with sanitary standards, providing bed sheets, food, medical care still exist in SIZOs.
According to the data from All-Russian Movement “For Human Rights” in SIZO No. 69/1 of the city of Tver the sanitary norms are systematically broken. At the end of 2004 the representatives of this organization visited the SIZO. During the visit they learnt that the light availability of the cells is so poor, that if the person spends there a long time he or she may go blind. The cells are not ventilated. The air in the cells is thick and heavy because, among other things, the trashcans are not emptied regularly.
According to the Tver Memorial Society, which in 2002 monitored the pen itentiary institutions, SIZO No. 2 in the town of Kashin of the Tver Region occupies the building built in 1640; the main building of SIZO No. 1 of the city of Tver was built in 1812; the building occupied by SIZO No. 3 in the city of Rzhev was built in 1880s. The mentioned premises do not comply with today’s standards. The food ration of the prisoners is not balanced in carbohydrates and proteins. According to the statements from former prisoners, they mostly ate food sent from home or food bought with their own money. In SIZO No. 1 of the city of Tver there are no showers in the cells of both old and new buildings, and there is no hot water as well. The prisoners are taken to bathhouse once a week. The capacity of the bathhouse is limited and insufficient.
Krasnodar Organization “Mothers in Defense of the Rights of Those Arrested, Under Investigation and Convicted”, the prisoners in SIZO in the city of Krasnodar suffer from lice and scabies.
Mordovian Republican Human Rights Center while visiting the pre-trial establishments noted the lack of bed sheets.
16.10. Here is a conditions of pre-trial detention described by Pavel Lyzakov, a journalist and chief editor of Svobodnoe Slovo (Free Word) who had recently been arrested and had to spend some time in Moscow SIZO No.5.:
«They only give you a mattress and a mug with a small plastic spoon. That’s it. You are on your own. At the end of January and the beginning of February there it was awfully cold in the cells. There were 23 people in the cell per 14 sleeping places. We had to take turns sleeping on indescribably dirty mattresses. Lice were in almost every cell. It is possible to get rid of them only by washing your clothes all the time, but the water in the cell tap is ice cold and there is no time to boil it for everybody. The walls in our cell were green once. Now they are multicolored, brown in some places and black from soot in others. In some places the concrete is showing. There were writing on the door dated back from 1984..
16.11. Anna Stavitskaya, the advocate, reports:
«In Lefortovo SIZO (Moscow) there is no dentist. He comes to SIZO once a month. He can come, drill the hole and then – just leave. And come back in a month to fill the hole up. My client Igor Sytyagin found himself in such situation. How else can you call such treatment if not torture? In SIZO No. 4 in Medvedkovo (Moscow) there is no doctor who can do fluorography. During six months the prisoners were taken to Matrosskaya Tishina [another Moscow pre-trial detention center] to do fluorography. It is done like this. In five o’clock in the evening of the previous day the prisoners are put in a closet where they spend the whole night, then in the early morning they are taken to Matrosskaya Tishina. The whole procedure takes about 15 minutes, but they are brought back only late at night. This means that they spend more than 24 hours without food. It is very difficult to get to visit a doctor. And if you do, the doctor has the one medicine only – a painkiller”.
Situation in correctional institutions
16.12. Human rights organizations note that the Federal Penitentiary Service efforts on improving the condition in correction institutions have brought evident positive results. However the penitentiary system of Russia is huge. It includes more than 800 correctional facilities where more than 600 000 people are kept. The organizational efforts and financial resources spent by the Federal Penitentiary Service were not enough in order to make the conditions in all correctional facilities comply with principals of dignity retaining. The Prosecutor General of the Russian Federation in his report about the Prosecution system Activity during the year 2004 mentioned that prosecutors discovered bad conditions in correctional institutions and gave specific examples.
16.13. The representatives of NGOs that visit correctional institutions note a certain improvement in the conditions of detention and treatment of prisoners. However they simultaneously state that the big number of problems connected with improving sanitary and hygienic conditions, labor conditions, level of medical treatment and food quality still exists and requires further measures to be taken.
Premises of correctional institutions
16.14. Human rights organizations visiting correctional institutions, testify that in some of them repairs have been made during the last couple years.
During the last two years in the correctional institutions of the Tver Region the repairs have been started in the living blocks. In almost all institutions the heating system has been repaired. In most correctional institutions the norms of living space per person are complied with.
In IK-27(male colony of general regime) in Krasnoyarsk Krai a privileged regime zone was opened with rooms that sleep two people, single-tier beds, own canteen in the building, showers. In colony in Kansk in September 2005 the new three-story brick school and a wooden church were opened for use.
16.15. However in a number of institutions premises where the convicts live are kept in a very poor condition.
The “Social Partnership Foundation” reports that in Orel region in female correctional colony (IK-6) 1600 people are kept, while the planned capacity is only 910 people. The space available per person is only 2.2 square meters of the living quarters (the number may very depending on the number of people currently serving penalty). In the colony of the town of L’gov of Kursk Region in 3rd troop there were 60 people living in the room with the area of 40 square meters. Almost everywhere the beds were arranged in two tiers.
The “Social Partnership Foundation” whose staff have the opportunity to visit correctional institutions in different Russian regions note that the punishment cells almost everywhere do not comply with national sanitary requirements. Among other things in those premises the temperatures are usually too low and the humidity is too high (for example in one such cell in the female colony near the town of Tosno in Leningrad Region, women try to protect themselves from cold by stuffing the huge cracks in the window frames with pieces of cloths). There is almost no natural lighting and so on.
Sanitary and hygienic conditions
16.16. The article 11 of the Penal Code of the Russian Federation together with the “Internal Rules of correctional institutions of the penitentiary system” expect the prisoners to keep to sanitary and hygienic rules. However there is no statement in the law that obliges administration of the correctional institutions to provide the necessary conditions for prisoners to maintain the hygiene.
16.17. According to reports of human rights organization it is a common practice when in correctional institutions the toilets are situated on special premises separated from the living quarters. They are however very often insufficiently equipped to ensure the prisoners take care of their natural needs without impediment. The norms demand that there should be at least one tap with running water per ten prisoners, but these norms are not always complied with. In some colonies there was not enough taps from the beginning, in some they were broken from heavy use and since that have not been repaired.
The “Social Partnership Foundation” reports that in L’gov colony in the Kursk Region there were 6-8 taps per troop of 120-150 prisoners, which is two times less the maximum permissive norm.
16.18. It is very seldom that in penitentiary institution the location and design of toilets comply with the decency and minimal comfort standards. Very often they have toilets of so-called “Asian-type”. The number of actual “holes” is very often less than prescribed by regulations. The “holes” are located opposite each other and do not have any partitions. The toilets are very often located far from the living quarters and are not heated in wintertime. It is inconvenient and can be rather hazardous for prisoners’ health especially in the regions with severe climate.
The “Social Partnership Foundation” reports that in Novooskol juvenile colony for girls, there are toilets in the living building, but they have been locked up for the number of years, and the girls are told to use the old-fashioned toilets outside, even in winter times.
16.19. According to the approved norms of prisoners’ diet, each month the prisoner is supposed to get: 7,5 kg of bread (white and rye), about 4 kg of different cereals, 1,4 kg of sugar, 3 kg meat and fish, 15 kg of potatoes, 0,5 kg butter. In 2005 the norm for meat consumption was increased to 100 grams per 24 hours.
16.20. Federal Penitentiary Service standards presuppose special norms of diet for those suffering from tuberculosis and other diseases that require following specific diet regulations. However the current norms do not presuppose any specific diet norms for those who follow a specific diet because of religious reasons.
16.21. In general the situation with prisoners’ diet have improved during the recent years. In some institutions the improvement in the prisoners’ diet comes not only from the increase of funding into penal system but also with the active work of the administration of those institutions.
For instance, the Kazan Human Rights Center reports that in the Republic of Tatarstan the problem of providing prisoners with food has been solved and brought in accordance with norms set by the current legislature. It was achieved because of establishing own farms and gardens in the correctional institutions that enable the institutions to produce their own food.
16.22. However despite the introduction of more adequate dietary norms, the quality of food for prisoners leaves a lot to be desired. According to the statements of some prisoners they would not have been able to survive without additional food, that they receive from home or that they buy with their own money in the shops of penitentiary institutions.
16.23. Legal norms that regulate the labor of prisoners have been improved and became more in accordance with international standards in this area. However the representatives of human rights organizations note that there are still certain contradictions in those legal norms.
16.24. The Article 103 in the Penal Code of the Russian Federation states “each prisoner is entitled to work at the places designated by the administration of the correctional institutions”. It also states “the work activity of prisoners must not interfere with their main task of correctional institutions – to reclaim the prisoners”. Having stated all this, the Penal Code does not presuppose that the prisoner may be given a choice of what work to do. The Codex also does not mention that that it is a duty of the administration of the correction institution to organize labor in such a way that prisoners may get useful skill or qualification.
16.25. Part 6 of the Article 103 of the Penal Code states that
“Prisoners are forbidden to stop work in order to resolve any work-related conflicts. A refusal to work or cessation of work is considered to be a malignant violation of a set order of penal execution and may lead to penalties and financial liabilities”.
16.26. This means that the right of prisoners to defend their rights to have acceptable work conditions or fair pay is limited by the possibility of penalties that may be applied to them.
16.27. According to article 106 of the Penal Code, the prisoners can work without pay for two hours a week in order to improve of the correctional institution facilities. In all other cases the labor of prisoners must be paid for. Article 105 of the Penal Code states that the wage of a prisoner cannot be less than a minimum wage in the country, if the prisoner keeps up with the norms of labor productivity. These productivity norms are set by the administration of penal institutions itself. In practice it leads to understatement of remuneration of labor. The wages of prisoners are considerably lower than those on the market. It is in many ways caused by the fact that the manufacturing units of penal institutions are heavily taxed, do not have necessary state support and are forced to compete with commercial structures, despite the fact, that unlike usual commercial structures they perform important social functions – that of social adaptation and training of prisoners.
16.28. In accordance with the article 107 of the Penal Code, the means that prisoners earned are spent on their liability payments (children alimony, damage payments caused by the crime). After this the means for keeping the prisoner in a correctional institution are deducted from the wage. The Codex states the limit of such deductions. However big the deductions are, no less than 25% of the wage, pension or other income must be put to the prisoner’s personal account. If the prisoner is a male older than 60, a woman older than 55, a disabled of first of second degree, a mother with children in the children institutions of the correctional establishment, than no less than 50 % of the wage, pension or other income must be put into prisoner’s personal account.
16.29. As a result the real income of prisoners from their work is laughingly small in a number of regions and institutions:
Staff members of the Perm Regional Human Rights Defender Center have discovered after their visits to correctional institutions of Perm Region, that the wage of prisoners is less than normative minimum wage (which today is 720 rubles). In some colonies situated in Kungur, for instance, the wage today is still 600 rubles. The prisoners work in metal and wood processing shops and sew clothes and linen for their own needs. Very often, however, such productions are unprofitable, and the directors of colonies are powerless to “stretch” the wage of their charges to the one stated in the legislature. The manufactures are choked by taxes, working on their worn out equipment. It must also be mentioned that the price of a minimum set of food products on average throughout Russia equals 34 rubles 73 kopeck per day, while the federal budget allocated only 27 rubles 29 kopecks in 2005. With such a salary, the prisoners enjoy only mere kopecks for food, cigarettes and personal hygienic needs as 75 % of their salary is deducted to pay for their keep.
16.30. In practice the current taxation system of penal institutions and lack of state support of such manufacturing units does not allow to upgrade their equipment and make the working conditions in accordance with current regulations. Human rights organizations receive complaints of unsanitary working conditions and employment injuries in correctional institutions.
The Perm Regional Human Rights Defender Center registered two complaints about industrial injury. The injuries took place in 2002 and 2004. In both cases, the victims were not examined by a doctor right after the accident, which deprives them of the opportunity to receive compensation stated in the law.
Prisoners in correctional institution YU 323/T-2 in the city of Yelets in 2003-2004 complained about the working conditions: the working space was without windows, the ventilation did not work, the air is polluted by dust, there was not enough oxygen which leads to development of lungs and respiratory systems.
16.31. The medical aid to prisoners is given first of all by the medical staff of correctional institutions and specialized medical institutions under the jurisdiction of penal system. The Federal Penitentiary Service has been making efforts to provide correctional institutions with medical equipment and medicines that increased the level of medical treatment. The considerable progress was made in the battle with tuberculosis. According to the Federal Penitentiary Service data during the past 5 year the number of people sick with active form of tuberculosis decreases twice – from 100 to 48 thousand people.
16.32. Human rights organizations testify that in Krasnoyarsk and Krasnodar Krais, in the republics of Tartarstan and Mordovia, and Orel Region the situation with medical treatment of prisoners is satisfactory.
According to the data from the Public Problems Research Institute «United Europe», in IK-6 in Orel Region the sickbay is better equipped than the regional center hospital.
16.33. At the same time in a number of regions, the level of medical care provided for prisoners is considerably lower than the standards existing outside correctional institutions.
16.34. The Memorial Human Rights Commission of Komi Republic, which representatives visit penal institutions in the Republic give the following characteristic of the medical treatment of prisoners in their region:
«It is clear after the talks with administrations of colonies, medical personnel and prisoners, that there is a number of problems that are similar for most institutions. First of all, there is a problem of medicine supply, number of specialists and equipment. The amount of medicines supplied to colonies have increased, but according to doctors reports it so happens that a particular type of medicine is supplied in a limited amount. To colony No.22 a large amount of psychiatric medicines was delivered, while there was a shortage of antifungal and anti-allergy medicines. There is a shortage of specialists even in specialized colony hospitals. The main reason for this is low salaries, so the specialists do not want to take the job. For example in the colony hospital No. 18 there is no endocrinologist although there is a vacancy. In colony No. 3, where the prisoners ill with tuberculosis are kept, there is no surgeon. During the last two years new equipment was supplied to the Republic colonies. The problems, however, still remain. For instance in colony No. 22 there is no extra dentist chair, the prisoners infected with AIDs are deprived of dental care”.
The Perm Regional Human Rights Defender Center made notice about a vacancy of oncologist in regional hospital of MOB-9 in the city of Solikamsk because of low salary.
16.35. Due to the shortage of medical staff, prisoners cannot always get medical help in time.
The Yorshkar-Ola organization “Man and Law” reports that in IK-6 of Marii El republic, the dentist comes once a week and there are lots of complains from prisoners that he cannot cope with the demand for dentist treatment. The prisoners asked to invite the urologist but this request has not been fulfilled yet.
16.36. It is obvious that most problems connected with medical treatment of detainees stem from under-financing, including under-payment of doctors, which makes the job unattractive for more qualified professionals. Part of the problem is that medical personnel of detention facilities are under direct supervision of penitentiary administration. During the 2002 national monitoring carried out by Moscow Helsinki Group and partner organizations, cases of intervening in the work of medical personnel, which in some instances lead to the refusal from medical assistance, were identified.
16.37. The convicted in Russia have the right to call for civilian doctors. However, the civilian specialist can only be invited with the permission of detention ward administration officers.
The Yorshkar-Ola organization “Man and Law” reports that an inmate of IK-6 facility of Marii El republic, R. Zainutdinov, is trying to ask for independent medical examination, and no such permission has yet been issued.
16.38. Moreover, prisoners are to pay for the services of civilian specialists from their own budgets. Naturally, only a small number of prisoners are able to afford that.
Social adaptation of the convicts
16.39. The penitentiary authorities have been paying much attention to implementing various measures of social adaptation of the convicts - particularly of the underage inmates.
16.40. Thus, the access to education (including higher education) for convicts has improved significantly. At the same time, the penitentiary facilities try to increasingly engage the inmates in cultural and educational activities – various contests, competitions, performances, sport tournaments – which help to develop the creative potential of the detainees.
16.41. Within the penitentiary system there were introduced the psychological office and social workers’ office. Both units serve to minimize current internal conflicts within detention facilities and to prevent from further outbreaks. At the same time, according to the Federal Penitentiary Service reports, in 2005 the penitentiary employed the total of 1300 social workers and 2252 psychologists against the total of 600000 inmates, which gave 460 inmates per one social worker and about 230 inmates per one psychologist. It thus seems unlikely that the current number of social workers and psychologists is sufficient to satisfy the existing demand.
16.42. Unfortunately, the significant efforts of penitentiary administration officers to prepare the inmates for the release and for the re-entering normal life lack support from other public authorities. There are no national projects on re-socialization of the released from correction facilities. Individual humanitarian initiatives tend to cover one aspect of a problem at a time (support in obtaining necessary documents, assistance in looking for work and place to live, support in setting up relationships with the relatives, etc.) are far too scarce for the problem of such a scale. The absence of large and efficient projects of social adaptation for the released increases the risk of recurrent offences.
Situation of the vulnerable categories of prisoners
16.43. While the majority of prisoners experience conditions that can hardly be called ‘humane’, some specific groups of prisoners are even worse off. Among those groups there are disabled and persons with HIV.
16.44. The “Social Partnership Foundation” reports that no specific facilities are arranged at correction facilities for better handling of disabled persons. While penitentiary authorities have gone a long way to ensure better employment possibilities for the inmates, employment of disabled persons is still a large problem.
Table 4. The number of HIV-infected in detention wards is quite high.
Number of HIV-infected
Penal correction facilities
Pre-Tiral detention facilities and prisons
January 1st, 2001
January 1st, 2002
January 1st, 2003
January 1st, 2004
January 1st, 2005
16.45. The identification of the HIV-infected is highly efficient in the penitentiary system. Each new detainee is examined for HIV, and in case the virus is found, the new inmate is prescribed vitamins and special diet. However, the sentence is served in regular conditions, no preferential treatment is practiced in relation to HIV-infected inmates.
16.46. The development of HIV into AIDS is also monitored: the examinations are held every six months. If an inmate is diagnosed with AIDS, they receive the status of ‘patients’. In case of severe clinical presentations a prisoner can be transferred to prison hospital. In case of the most severe clinical cases it is possible to apply to court and ask for release. The court then takes into account all clinical data and makes a decision. In practice it often happens that court underestimate the severity of disease.
16.47. Antivirus therapy of HIV-infected inmates is not always carried out, because financial authorities do not allocate necessary funds for purchasing specific medicines.
In 2004 Marii El republic allocated part of its budget for arranging special treatment for HIV-infected in prisons and detention centers. The funds, however, have not yet been transferred.
16.48. According to the law, HIV-infected detainees should be serving their sentences together with other, non-infected inmates - a principle, which had not come into practice until 2005. To avoid discrimination of HIV-infected individuals, the penitentiary authorities are now taking measures to ensure that the HIV-infected detainees are not separated from other inmates. Human rights protection organizations confirm that this is true about Marii El republic, in Krasnoyarsk Krai, Krasnodar and Perm Krais. In Komi and Tatarstan republics, however, the authorities prefer to gather transfer all HIV-infected prisoners to one or two facilities.
16.49. The lack of medical equipment also affects the condition in which HIV-infected inmates find themselves. At some facilities, it is impossible to provide them medical assistance due to the lack of syringes, medical gloves, etc.
16.50. In some cases, the situation of HIV-infected in worsened due to the prejudices carried by other inmates and detention officers.
Thus, the members of the Public Board of the Ministry of Justice while acting upon complaints submitted inspected the treatment of HIV-infected inmates of minimum-security colony in Gorny, Smolensk Region. During the inspection the Board members revealed major violations of HIV-infected prisoners’ rights. The diet requirements for them were not followed – they had not been receiving milk for more than six months, instead of meat and normal fish they were regularly served blackish slush of small sprat. There was no place for them in the common canteen, so the inmates had to take meals in the dormitory. They were refused dental treatment. It was required of them to provide their own dental instruments and medical gloves. Vitamins were distributed sporadically. Medicines sent by parents were kept from them for months. The chief medical officer, whose professional duty was to assist them, turned out to be their greatest enemy. If any of the HIV-infected inmates hurt themselves, the non-infected prisoners and also penitentiary personnel would scatter away immediately and refuse to provide first aid. HIV-infected inmates were not employed because of the ‘risk of injury’; not being able to earn money meant an almost beggarly existence for those infected. Even a minor offence would lead to incarceration for up to six month, repeatedly. Conditions of incarceration in violated existing norms. Cells were barely lit, and there was almost no ventilation. It is clear that such conditions only worsened the status of the HIV-infected and could lead to serious consequences. It needs to be noted, however, that the reaction of the regional Department of the Federal Penitentiary Service was timely and thorough. When the Board members ran the second inspection of this colony (in a year) they found that a lot of improvements took place. The chief medical officer had been fired.
Temporary detention isolators (IVS) of the Ministry of Interior: conditions of detention
16.51. Apart from pre-trial detention centers (SIZO) operating under the supervision of the Federal Penitentiary Service of the Ministry of Justice, those apprehended and awaiting trial can be confined in temporary detention isolators (IVS) run by Ministry of Interior. According to the law, those detainees can be held in IVS for up to 10 days until they are transferred to pre-trial detention centers. After the transfer has been carried out, the suspects and the accused can be sent back to IVS in case investigation procedures or participation in trial are taken out of town where pre-trial detention centers situated. However term of such removal should not last more than a total of 10 days per months.
16.52. While the authorities recognized the problem of poor confinement conditions in SIZO, and relevant relief measures were launched, the IVS confinement conditions have just recently become the focus of public attention. Partly this stems from a fact that no independent inspectors were admitted to IVS up until 2005.
16.53. According to the authorities and human rights activists, the confinement conditions in IVS are far from humane and are sometimes even worse than those in SIZO. Human Rights Ombudsman is Sverdlovsk Region, Tatyana Merzlyakova, writes in her report “On Violation of Rights of Suspects and the Accused Held in Custody at IVS”:
Most IVS are situated in converted basements and semi-basements of police department buildings, constructed in the last century or earlier. The inspection has revealed a number of violations of the Federal Law # 103-FZ “On Incarceration of Suspects and Accused” passed on July 15th1995, and of “Internal Rules of Temporary Detention Isolators” (#950, passed on November 22nd, 2005). The following rights were subject to most violation: the right to receive three free meals a day, the right for medical and sanitary treatment, the right for humane confinement conditions, the right for daily walk.
The inspection has showed that only 16 regional IVS provide the inmates with three meals a day, 4 IVS – two meals a day, the remaining 28 IVS only provided one meal a day. Individual beds are only provided in 34 IVS of the region, the inmates of the remaining IVS sleep on timber decks in the cells. Bedding and bedclothes are absent in 20 IVS; 17 IVS provide with mattresses, blankets and bedclothes. Other IVS (with the exception of Artinsky and Ivdelsky police departments, where the inmates have access to both bedding and bedclothes) provide for either bedding or bedclothes. The normative requirements stating that each cell must be equipped with a table, benches, a food cabinet, a lavatory, a running water tap, a barrel with drinking water and a radio-set are not followed. There are none of the aforementioned items in 27 IVS of the region. Such conditions make it impossible for the inmates to prepare for the trial, write an appeal or a letter, let alone have a proper meal. There are no radio-sets in 10 regional IVS; only 23 IVS are equipped with electrical outlets; 8 IVS provide no periodicals and 9 IVS don’t stock boarding games. There are no sanitary inspection rooms in 40 IVS and no disinfection plants in 44 IVS; 25 IVS lack infirmaries and medical equipment. This means that almost none of regional IVS has necessary sanitary and medical facilities, which should prevent the spread of contagious diseases.
The inspection of technical facilities of IVS, field trips and inspections showed that 30 IVS fail to arrange daily walks for the inmates (including women and underage inmates) due to either absence of courtyards or improper security arrangements in them. Kushvimsky and Krasnoufimsky IVS are understaffed, and the convoy officers are busy at the trials, so the inmates are denied their daily walks.
Kamensky-Uralsky, Pervouralsk IVS, IVS of Asbestovsky, Achitsky, Kirovgradsky, Krasnoufimsky, Neviansky and Rezhevsky police departments are overcrowded with inmates, which leads to the violation of '4 meters of personal space per inmate' regulation.
16.54. The Memorial Human Rights Commission of Komi Republic reports about the confinement condition at IVS of Korterossky police department of Komi Republic:
The inmates are not provided with individual sleeping places and have to sleep in turns, sleep on the floor or sleep in sitting position. There are no bedclothes or bedding for the existing sleeping places. The inmates do not have any possibility to take any form of washing, as there is no running water – even cold – in the cells. There are no shower-rooms in the building. Walks are scarce due to the lack of convoy personnel. Cells are not equipped with lavatories; the inmates have to relieve themselves into portable barrels, which account for the perpetual heavy smell in the cell. As all cells are overcrowded and there are no walks, the inmates inform that chlorine disinfections are carried out in their presence. The walls and floors of the cells are dirty and covered with soot. As the windowpanes are missing, the windows are boarded on the outside and covered with iron shields on the inside. The only source of light is the 40 watt ceiling lamp. Broken windows and no heating mean that the temperature in the cells never rise higher than 5-10 degrees Centigrade. It is forbidden to wear outer clothing, so inmates are always cold. The infirmary lacks necessary medicines.
16.55. Similar problems were revealed during the visit of 10 IVS of Perm Region by the workers of the Perm Regional Human Rights Defender Center.
Conditions in accommodation and holding centers for immigrants
16.56. Russia has two types of institutions for immigrants: temporary accommodation centers for those whose status is pending, and detention centers where immigrants await expulsion.
Temporary accommodation centers
16.57. There are only three institutions termed temporary accommodation centers for immigrants and controlled by the Federal Migration Service: "Ocher” (the city of Ocher, Perm Oblast); “Goryachy Klyuch” (the city of Goryachy Kluych, Krasnodar Krai); and “Don” (the city of Sinyavskoye, Neklinovsky District, Rostov Region).
16.58. The centers were set up in 1996 pursuant to the Regulation of the State Sanitary Epidemiological Surveillance Committee of 12 January 1996 (# 1) and intended to provide temporary accommodation to foreigners, stateless persons and refugees for periods ranging between a few days and three months pending their legal status determination or their exit, if in transit.
16.59. Living conditions in the centers are fairly acceptable, but they can only accommodate up to 500 people and they are almost empty anyway, because asylum seekers are not referred to the centers – a trend consistent with the overall policy of denying asylum.
16.60. The three centers currently accommodate a total of 180 people. The “Don" center was empty for a while, and is now being renovated. The only person living there is a Georgian named Maskhulia, with pending appeal against loss of status. "Goryachy Klyuch” does not have residents except a small staff. The remaining 179 whose status is pending live in “Ocher”; 15 of them appeal their loss of temporary asylum. "Ocher" can accommodate more than 300 people, but it is not used to capacity, because immigration authorities are reluctant to refer people, and some refugees refuse to go there, fearing the cold northern climate.
16.61. Most asylum seekers are left to fend for themselves. They are not encouraged to go other regions, so they can spread more evenly across the country. Those who come by air usually stay in Moscow and apply to Moscow and Moscow Region immigration authorities. None of them can legally get employment, access education and health care (except emergencies); they are not entitled to pensions or childcare allowances.
Detention centers for immigrants awaiting expulsion
16.62. By par. 5, art. 32.10 of the Code of Administrative Offences, an immigrant can be taken into custody awaiting expulsion pursuant to a court ruling.
"Article 32.10. Procedure for enforcement of rulings on administrative expulsion of foreigners and stateless person outside the Russian borders.
5. A foreigner or stateless person awaiting administrative expulsion outside the Russian borders can be held, subject to a judicial order, in specialized facilities provided for by art.27.6 of this Code.”
16.63. As we can see, the law fails to specify the circumstances warranting detention of a person to be expelled, while the duration of custody can be unlimited pending expulsion, which in unacceptable. Some people spend years in detention. Designed as an injunctive measure, it amounts to punishment in the form of unlimited incarceration, often far exceeding the 30 days maximum allowed for administrative arrest used as punishment for offences.
16.64. We should also note that the number of judgments prescribing expulsion exceeds by 15-20% the number of people who actually get expelled. Some of those awaiting expulsion who are not arrested bribe themselves out, so their expulsion is not enforced; they stay illegally in Russia, losing all available means of legalizing their presence.
16.65. Over the recent two years, Russian regions have been actively setting up new centers for immigrants awaiting deportation or expulsion. There are no formal laws or regulations defining the legal status of such detention facilities. They are established pursuant to decisions of local executive officials. There have been numerous proposals to amend the Code of Administrative Offences to provide for such centers, but the State Duma has not adopted any yet.
16.66. One such center in the village of Severny near Moscow has been operational for a long while as a place of detention for people awaiting expulsion pursuant to rulings of Moscow Region courts. Living conditions in the center are abhorrent: humiliating treatment (detainees are searched at admission; they are not allowed to possess pens and paper, to make phone calls, to send and receive letters); shortage of sleeping accommodations, no bedding, and no possibility of taking a shower. Only 12 rubles per person per day is budgeted for food; the food is not only scarce, but of very poor quality. There is not enough spoons, so detainees use bread crusts instead of spoons or lap up the food with their tongues.
16.67. In other regions, living conditions in holding centers are even worse, and some detainees even lack mattresses for sleeping.
16.68. As their communication with the outside world is cut off, detainees find it extremely difficult to challenge their detention or complaint about conditions of detention. With rare exceptions, it is only possible in cases known to their families, NGOs or the UNHCR staff who can hire a lawyer to represent the detainee.
16.69. In some cases it has been possible to appeal the unlimited detention and to get the asylum seeker released.
Living Conditions in the Military Service
16.70. Conscripts are at the disposal of the military authorities. The latter are responsible for arranging meals, medical assistance, etc. for the conscripts. According to the Committees of Soldiers’ Mothers, few draftees experience living conditions and medical support above the level that can be called ‘degrading’ and ‘inhumane’.
16.71. The diet for the military is set by the Army Disciplinary Charter; by the Order # 400 issued by the Minister of Defense on July 22nd, of 2000; and by the amended Order # 344 “On Setting the Regulations for Ratio Supply of the Armed Forces of Russian Federation in the Time of Piece” issued by the Minister of Defense on October 29th, 2004. Those documents set the normative 60 rubles cost for the daily draftee ratio, of which 70% should be bread, vegetables and cereal. The work with draftees and their parents, who apply to the Committees of Soldiers’ Mothers, and the research, carried out by Human Rights Watch in 2001-2003 confirm that the actual ratio of the draftees does not match even the scarce requirements set by the existing regulations. A number of factors occurring within the military units have negative influence on soldiers’ ratio. According to the Committees of Soldiers’ Mothers, among such factors are stealing food from kitchens and commissary storehouses. Discrimination in military units also results in lack of food, and even in starvation of the draftees of the first year of military service.
From the application to the Nizhniy Novgorod Committee of Soldiers’ Mothers, filed on June 6th, 2005 by Anton Koshelev, a draftee of 95105 military unit (stationed in Vyborg): “I had been assigned the extended ratio, but it didn’t really matter in this unit. The sergeants were allowed to take the first helping and only after that we were to share what was left. At the command of the sergeant we should stop eating, leaving half of the helping behind simply because we wouldn’t get nearly enough time to finish it. Half a helping per person, that was it.”
From the application to the Nizhniy Novgorod Committee of Soldiers’ Mothers, filed on November 29th, 2005 by Valery Boytzov, a draftee of 45935 military unit (stationed in St. Petersburg): “Instead of military training there was unloading of KAMAZ trucks. Whenever there was work, there was no food during the day until the evening, so people had to go around hungry until that time.”
16.72. Lack of food, which is exceptionally severe during the first year of service, leads, along with the other factors, to the situation that the health of the conscripts seriously deteriorates. Preserving and improving the health of the servicepersons is, according to article 326 of the Army Disciplinary Charter, “…one of the prior duties of the commanding officer in line of maintaining permanent preparedness of the unit…” Article 334 of the same Disciplinary Charter imposes it on every serviceperson “to take care of their own health, not to conceal diseases and to strictly follow the rules of personal and public hygiene…”
16.73. All those prescriptions are almost impossible to follow for the first-year draftee, as the conditions in which they find themselves are nothing if not impeding. While in the quarters, the newly drafted immediately looses all personal belongings they have taken from home, including the items of personal hygiene – those are taken (openly or otherwise) by the older conscripts. Such displays of discrimination against younger draftees, as restriction of bathing time (during the weekly visit to the bathhouse) also hinder the process of following strict personal hygiene requirements. The tradition in most of the military units is such that older conscripts would go first, and the remaining bathing time – about 10 minutes – has to be shared between 40-50 younger draftees. With only 4-5 bathing stalls, it gives 1 minute of bathing time per person. The applications of draftees and those parents who succeeded in taking their children out of the military unit also mention the presence of lice in underwear and uniform of the soldiers.
From the application to the Nizhniy Novgorod Committee of Soldiers’ Mothers, filed on June 23rd, 2005 by Ivan Karavashkin, a draftee of 42710 military unit (stationed in Novocherkassk): “The bedclothes were dirty, the mattresses and pillows torn… We were unable to change foot-wraps – so those remained dirty, too; there were no days off from work. We didn’t have time to wash the uniform, wash feet, face, shave…”
16.74. The most widespread disease among the draftees is feet disease, caused by small blisters appearing after wearing uncomfortable boots. Given the impossibility to follow the rules of personal hygiene because of the fear to enrage the older conscripts who would, when bothered, proceed with “education” often executed in the form of severe beating, the small blisters develop into a full-scale disease, which often requires hospital treatment. According to the unwritten rules, a younger soldier can’t enter the lavatory in the evening because there are older conscripts there.
16.75. Article 347-349 of Army Disciplinary Charter clearly states that in case a draftee feels ill they must immediately inform their direct supervisor, and to apply for medical assistance to the infirmary when permission is given. It needs to be noted, that according to articles 341-342 of the same Army Disciplinary Charter, the commanding officers in cooperation with the medical officers of the unit must carry out preventive measures and arrange regular medical examinations (no less than two examinations a year). In reality the examinations are either superficial or are not carried out altogether.
16.76. The soldiers, especially the younger draftees, also find too many obstacles on their way should they wish to apply for medical assistance to the infirmary. Because the actual medical help is rendered unavailable, even the smallest of health distortions often develops into severe disease.
The case of sergeant Topkov from 96160 military unit (stationed in Bujnaksk, Dagestan), filed to the Nizhniy Novgorod Committee of Soldiers’ Mothers by his mother: “Since august (2001) I have been receiving alarming letters from my son, he’s been complaining about pain in his kidneys. Aleshka lived on painkillers, which helped a bit, but then he was sent to those trenches again and again. The medical officers wouldn’t examine him properly, told that he exposed some muscles to cold… in December I came to the unit. I didn’t recognize my son at first – he looked so different! I begged the officers to let him to the hospital, but they would insist there was nothing wrong with him. I nearly had to steal my son from the unit, and in the end they satisfied my demand. Once at hospital, my 19 year-old son was diagnosed with “malignant growth”, third degree. He was commissioned in April 2002 as an invalid…” Sergeant Topkov died in June 2002.
16.77. The commander officers are of an opinion that those who are complaining about their health are just lazy people wanting to skip some actual service by spending time in infirmary. This is one of the major reasons for the officers to forbid the draftees to call for medical aid. If a soldier succeeded in reaching the infirmary, it doesn’t mean that the necessary aid will be provided. As a rule, the medical officers serving in the unit lack the necessary responsibility when it comes to the health of the soldiers, and, too, think that the soldiers just want to leave the quarters by any means to avoid the actual service. Sometimes it leads to severe consequences.
From the application to the Nizhniy Novgorod Committee of Soldiers’ Mothers, filed on January 11th, 2005 by the mother of Mikhail Krilyshkov, a draftee of 71523 military unit (stationed in Dimitrov, Moscow Region): “In the evening of December 15th, 2004 my son was hit on the back of his head. He was in his quarters. He lost consciousness and when came to his senses, found himself on the floor. He has no recollection of how much time he has been unconscious. He got to the toilet, where he vomited several times. In the morning he addressed the infirmary. He got a reply that he should use the upcoming one year and a half to be ‘treated’ and refused to provide any help”. After the interference from the Committee, the draftee has been sent to a psychoneurological hospital and commissioned.
16.78. Many servicepersons, especially those who had chronic disease at the moment of draft, don’t have faith in medical services at the unit and ask their parents to send them necessary medicine. In their letters the draftees often complain about the impossibility to receive medical aid at their military units.
16.79. Complaints about poor living conditions, bad food and lack of medical assistance are registered by the Committees of Soldiers’ Mothers in almost every military districts in all types of combat arms.
16.80. There is one more problem, which intensifies the already poor situation of the diseased soldiers – a long travel of medical papers necessary for commissioning through various offices. The procedure of approval of decision of the lower committee by the higher committee, the procedure of pre-term release of draftees on the account of poor health can take up from one to three months. All this time the soldier remains in the unit being an object of jealousy and dislike of other draftees.
16.81. The servicepersons facing unbearable living condition or those denied of medical help have the right to file a complaint in accordance with article 10, part V of Disciplinary Regulations of the Armed Forces of Russian Federation, approved by the Presidential Order # 2140 on December 12th 1993, and amended on June 3rd 2002. “Every serviceman has the right to file a complaint, either by hims