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Russian government may ban putting defendants in cages during trials

Source: Meduza

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev ordered three executive agencies to evaluate a proposed ban on enclosures for defendants in Russian court hearings by April 1. Keeping defendants in metal cages or transparent enclosures known as aquariums during their hearings is a common practice in Russia.

Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, a member of the punk protest group Pussy Riot, smiles from a cage during a parole hearing in 2013.
Pyotr Verzilov

Russian legislators began working on a bill to ban caging defendants in courtrooms in 2018. In November, the bill was accepted for consideration by the State Duma. Now, it will be evaluated by the Justice Ministry, the Ministry of Internal Affairs, and the Finance Ministry, whose officials have already met with Russian senators.

Senator Andrey Klishas reported that a criminal defendant was first caged in a Russian court in 1992 during a murder case. No similar structures were used during the Soviet era. By 1994, the cages began to appear in nearly all of Russia’s criminal courts, and in the early 2000s, they began to be replaced with transparent enclosures.