Yesterday the European Court of Human Rights found living conditions in the pre-trial detention centre of Nizhny Novgorod inhuman


19 October 2007

On the 18th of October the European Human Rights Court adjudged that Russia violated article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights in respect of our countryman Nikolay Babushkin.

In 2000 Babushkin who was accused of assault related to robbery spent 5 months in Nizhny Novgorod pre-trial detention centre. In 2001 Babushkin submitted a claim to Strasburg Court stating that the conditions he had to live were inhuman and mortifying his pride. The main issues were the size of cells in Pre-trial DC 52/1 and the number of prisoners in each cell. The Court basing on the information given by the state, Babushkin and other prisoners found out that in 2000 there was less than 1 square meter of space per person in the detention centre. This led to the fact that there was not enough beds and prisoners had to sleep in turns. Besides, access to lavatory facilities was limited. The Court also underlined that prisoners had difficulties with maintaining personal hygiene.

Having considered all the facts, the European Courtdecided that living conditions in the pre-trial DC did not conform to the European Human Rights Convention and awarded Babushkin 2500 Euro as compensation.

We would like to remind you that the European Court has many timed found detention conditions in Russian prisons, penal colonies and isolation cells inhuman (Hudorov, Labzov, Novoselov, Mayzit, Kalashnikov cases, etc.). It is necessary to emphasize that apart from awarding fair compensations the Court in such cases usually obliges the country to take steps of general character to organize such a penal system that would be respectful of human dignity. Russia is trying to fulfill its obligations towards Europe and detention conditions are improving, though slowly.

Meanwhile, our authorities are refusing to take any measures to prevent torturing in police stations and ensure effective investigation of citizen’s claims on the issue of police abuse by the Prosecutor’s office. Still victims of police abuse are denied fair investigation and initiation of court proceedings. Investigations that take place are very slow and may last for years. Investigation authorities ignore court motions and do not take into consideration medical certificates, ignore apparent witnesses.

As usual the Committee against Torture will do its utmost to change the situation.

In the nearest future the Committee against Torture will provide visitors of this site with a Russian translation of theEuropean Courtdecision for “Babushkin vs. Russian Federation”.

Press-service of the Committee against Torture 

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