State Duma agrees with human rights defenders: there will be no amnesty for torturers


19 December 2013

On 18 December 2013 the State Duma of the Russian Federation passed the amnesty bill marking the Russian Constitution’s 20th anniversary in the third and the final reading. In the end deputies took into consideration the opinion expressed by human rights defenders, and decided  to expand the list of criminal offenses making the perpetrator ineligible for the amnesty on those punishable under Article 286 (3) of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (exceeding official powers with use of force or weapons or entailing grave consequences).

Previously, on 10 December 2013, Chairmen of the human rights organizations «Agora» (recognized as an undesirable organization)and «Committee Against Torture», members of the Presidential Council of the Russian Federation for Civil Society and Human Rights Pavel Chikov and Igor Kalyapin addressed the State Duma with this statement.

In their joint statement the human rights defenders emphasized in particular that «pursuant to the case-law and legal practice of the European Court of Human Rights, Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms stipulates that representatives of state authorities  responsible for torture shall be adequately punished. This provision bears the most sufficient value for society to have confidence in the Rule of Law and to support the Rule of Law, and also for society not to suspect state authorities of instigating unlawful acts or being implicated in a conspiracy. In Russia, it has in itself become an issue that abusing their official powers police officers responsible for grave criminal offenses receive minimum or suspended sentences. Being released on amnesty is only going to strengthen their assuredness of impunity».

The Chairman of the Presidential Council for Civil Society and Human Rights Mikhail Fedotov supported the opinion that state servicemen convicted of torture should not be released on amnesty.

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