The Committee against Torture has contributed to the elimination of sobering-up stations in Bashkiria


22 April 2010

The press-service of the Bashkirian Ministry of the Interior has disseminated a publication according to which in 2010 the Ministry intends to eliminate medical detoxification centres in the Republic of Bashkiria. In the first place it is planned to close medical detoxification centres under Departments of Internal Affairs, in particular, in Oktyabrsky, Aguidel, Birsk. There are 17 sobering-up stations in the Rupublic, 5 of them are linked to the Ufa Directorate of the Interior. It should be mentioned that lawyers of the Bashkirian representation of the Committee against Torture are working with several public investigations started under the applications of people who were abused by officers of the medical detoxification centres under the Departments of Internal Affairs of Oktyabrsky (the case of Anna Mikhailova) and Birsk (the case of Dmitry Aparin).

The Committee against Torture has many times emphasized that violations of human rights and legal interests, tortures and abuse have become common practice in such facilities. Presently the damage done to individuals in such facilitates, unfortunately, greatly overweighs their benefits – provision of help to intoxicated people. Therefore, elimination of sobering-up stations is a timely and justified measure.

Although the Bashkirian Ministry of the Interior denies that its staff is involved in crimes resulting in physical injuries for detoxification centre inmates, the Birsk case has attracted the attention of mass media and public. The heads of the Bashkirian police had to agree with the Committee against Torture and have decided to solve the problem in a radical fashion – to close medical detoxification centres, in the first place, in the cities where they cause the most harm.

The Interregional Committee against Torture hopes that other Russian regions are going to follow the lead of the Bashkirian law enforcement authorities.

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