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Russian senators draft legislation that would put prison officials convicted of torture behind bars for up to decade

Source: Kommersant

A group of Federation Council members have drafted legislation that would make the torture and abuse of inmates in Russia by Federal Penitentiary Service (FSIN) and law enforcement officers punishable by up to ten years in prison.

One of the draft law’s authors, Senator Lyudmila Narusova, told Kommersant about the legislation on Friday, November 19. Russia’s Human Rights Commissioner Tatyana Moskalkova was also involved in working on the bill.

The document is set to be discussed in the Federation Council on November 22, at a meeting of a working group headed by Senator Narusova. FSIN Head Alexander Kalashnikov, Deputy Attorney General Nikolay Vinnichenko, and Human Rights Commissioner Moskalkova will take part in the discussion.

According to Narusova, work on the bill began back in 2019, in the aftermath of a high-profile torture scandal at a prison colony in Yaroslavl. Narusova told Kommersant that the draft legislation was mothballed, “but recent events became an impetus for it to be accepted for consideration.” 

The senators plan to complete work on the bill by the end of the year.

Currently, under Russian Criminal Code Article 117, torture is punishable by up to seven years in prison. 

In early October, the human rights group (No to the Gulag) published three video clips leaked by a whistleblower showing the torture and rape of inmates at the penitentiary service’s Tuberculosis Hospital No. 1 in Russia’s Saratov region. The hospital’s leadership was fired, along with 18 employees of the local penitentiary service department, and investigators opened several criminal cases on charges of sexual assault and abuse of power.

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