The European Court will deal with the problem of release on parole in Russia


15 September 2010

On August 5, 2008 the Oktyabrskiy district court of Krasnodar issued a decision to release Mr. Atayev kept in remand prison SIZO-1 in Krasnodar. In accordance with the court decision, the applicant should have been released immediately. However, the remand prison head suspended the execution of the court ruling and even asked the court to confirm its decision. Even after he received a confirmation from the Oktyabrskiy district court emphasizing that Mr. Atayev was subject to an immediate release, the SIZO head did not set the applicant free ignoring the judicial document.  

Then Anatoly Atayev went on hunger-strike. At the same time Anatoly’s lawyers and specialists of the ICAT were applying to all possible authorities, including Prosecutor’s offices of all levels, the Investigation Committee under the RF Prosecutor’s office, Penitentiary Service, but to no avail.  

Therefore, the Interregional Committee Against Torture had to file an application to the European Court of Human Rights on behalf of Mr. Atayev.  In five days the ECtHR was already working with the case and granted it a priority status.

Having returned to work after the summer break, the ECtHR got involved with Atayev’s case again.  

In particular, the Court asked the Russian Government the following questions:

– Were the applicant’s detention conditions in compliance with Article 3 of the Convention?

– Did the medical assistance provided to the applicant in SIZO-1 meet the requirements of Article 3 of the Convention?

– Was the applicant deprived of liberty in breach of Article 5 § 1 of the Convention?

It should be noted separately that the answer to the last question will directly affect the procedural regulations in the sphere of Russian criminal law. The problem is that Russian law does not explicitly answer the question when one must be set free in case of release on parole – after there is a first instance decision or a cassation instance decision?   The RF Supreme Court which on April 21, 2009 issued a ruling regulating the issue of release on parole failed to address that legal gap.   

You can find more information about the facts of the case and questions posed to the parties here.

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