The RUssian Federation


Russia has a number of laws in place that ostensibly protect pretrial detention rights. In practice, however, rights are often overlooked, and various reports confirm serious pretrial detention problems in the country.
In a recent report to the European Committee to Prevent Torture, the Russian government emphasized these rights of detainees under the law:

The right to get legal assistance, to notify close relatives or close persons of the suspect’s detention, and the option to refuse to give explanations is explained to the detainee. The period of detention shall be counted from the moment of actual restriction of freedom of movement for the person. Federal Law of February 7, 2011 No. 3-FZ, Article 14.
The detainee is entitled to use, in accordance with federal law, the services of a defense attorney and a translator from the moment of detention. The detainee, within the shortest possible time, but not later than three hours after the moment of detention, unless otherwise provided by the criminal procedure legislation of the Russian Federation, has the right to make one telephone call to notify close relatives or close individuals of his/her detention and current location. Such notification may be made by a police office at the request of the detainee. Whenever a juvenile is detained, the police must notify the detainee’s parents or other lawful representatives. The police must notify the embassy (consulate) of the relevant country in the case of the detention of a foreign citizen or a national of a foreign country in accordance with the laws of the Russian Federation.


General Status of Rights in Russia

From the U.S. State Department, Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2013:

In January 2012 the ECHR issued a pilot judgment in the case of Ananyev v. Russia, which found that prison conditions in the country violated the European Convention on Human Rights’ prohibition against inhuman and degrading treatment. The ECHR uses pilot judgments as a means of dealing with large groups of identical cases that derive from the same underlying problem. In its judgment the ECHR noted that inadequate conditions of detention were a recurrent and systemic problem in the country. Applying pilot judgment procedures, the court held that the country had to improve conditions for pretrial detention by implementing a series of specific measures, which it detailed in the judgment. To that end the court ordered Russian authorities to draft a binding implementation plan. In October 2012 the government submitted an action plan for implementing the court’s decision, establishing a working group and laying out a proposed series of draft laws and plans for construction of dozens of new detention centers. At year’s end, however, the working group had not submitted the proposed draft laws on detention and there were no significant updates on the group’s progress.
By law authorities may arrest and hold a suspect arrested at the scene of a crime for up to forty-eight hours without court approval, provided there is evidence of the crime or a witness; otherwise, an arrest warrant is required. After arresting them, police typically take detainees to the nearest police station, where they inform them of their rights. Police must prepare a protocol stating the grounds for the arrest, and both detainee and police officer must sign it within three hours of detention. Police must interrogate detainees within the first twenty-four hours of detention. Prior to interrogation a detainee has the right to meet with an attorney for two hours. No later than twelve hours after detention, police must notify the prosecutor. They must also notify the detainee’s relatives unless a prosecutor issues a warrant to keep the detention secret. Police are required to release a detainee after forty-eight hours, subject to bail conditions, unless a court decides, at a hearing, to prolong custody in response to a police motion filed by police not less than eight hours before the forty-eight hour detention period expires. The defendant and his or her attorney must be present at the court hearing.
By law police must complete their investigation and transfer the case to a prosecutor for arraignment within two months of a suspect’s arrest, although an investigative authority may extend a criminal investigation for up to twelve months. Extensions beyond twelve months need the approval of the head federal investigative authority in the Interior Ministry, Federal Drug Control Service, FSB, or Investigative Committee. According to some defense lawyers, these time limits were often violated.
Federal law provides defendants’ right to choose their own lawyer.
The law provides for an independent judiciary and a fair public trial. The law requires judicial approval of arrest warrants, searches, seizures, and detentions.
A judge without a jury typically hears trials (bench trials). The defendant has a legal presumption of innocence. The law provides for the use of jury trials for a limited range of crimes in higher-level regional courts. Certain crimes, including terrorism, espionage, hostage taking, and mass disorder, must be heard by panels of three judges rather than by juries. The law allows prosecutors to appeal acquittals, which they do in most cases. Prosecutors may also appeal what they regard as lenient sentences.
During trial the defense is not required to present evidence and is given an opportunity to cross-examine witnesses and call defense witnesses, although judges can deny the defense this opportunity. Defendants who are in custody during the trial are confined to a caged area, which has been replaced by glass enclosures in some courts. Defendants have the right of appeal. Prior to trial defendants receive a copy of their indictment, which describes the charges in detail. They also have an opportunity to review their criminal file following the completion of the criminal investigation. The law provides for the appointment of an attorney free of charge if a suspect cannot afford one, although the high cost of competent legal service means that lower-income defendants often lacked competent representation. There were few qualified defense attorneys in remote areas of the country. Defense attorneys may visit their clients in detention, although defense lawyers claimed that informants electronically monitored their conversations and that prison authorities did not always provide them with access to their clients. (pg. 13).
Plea bargains reduced defendants’ time in pretrial detention in approximately half of cases.
Any person may file a complaint with the ECHR concerning alleged violations by the state of human rights under the European Convention on Human Rights, provided they have exhausted “effective and ordinary” appeals in the country’s courts.

Domestic Laws Governing Pretrial Detention


Article 21

  1. Human dignity shall be protected by the State. Nothing may serve as a basis for its derogation.
  1. No one shall be subject to torture, violence or other severe or humiliating treatment or punishment. No one may be subject to medical, scientific and other experiments without voluntary consent.

            Criminal Procedural Code of the Russian Federation (CCP) (Law no. 174-FZ) of Dec. 18, 2001

BASIC PROVISIONS (Sec. I), Principles of the Criminal Court Proceedings (Ch. 2)

Article 10: Immunity of the Person
Pending a court decision, no one can be detained for more than forty-eight hours. The court, the prosecutor, the investigator, or the inquirer is required to release any person who has been detained in excess of forty-eight hours. A detainee must be detained under conditions that do not constitute a threat to life or health. (Article 10, Items 1-3).
Article 11: Protection of the Rights and Freedoms of Man and Citizen in Criminal Court Proceedings
The court, the prosecutor, the investigator, or the inquirer are required to explain to all participants in a criminal court proceeding their rights, responsibilities, and liabilities and guarantee the option to exercise these rights. Any damages resulting from the violation of these rights is subject to recompense in accordance with the procedure established by this Code. (Article 11, Items 1, 4).
PARTICIPANTS IN THE CRIMINAL COURT PROCEEDINGS (Sec. II), Participants in the Criminal Court Proceedings on the Side of the Defence (Ch. 46)
Note: We read in a recent report by Russia on the prevention of torture that amendments to this law are currently proposed to further provide that:

  • Suspects and the Accused must be provided with appropriate conditions when involved in “labor activities;”
  • Minor Suspects and accused must be provided with schooling opportunities;
  • Extra sanitation efforts and increased outdoor time must be provided for suspects or the accused being held in cells which do not meet the requirement of sanitary space per person.

Article 46: The Suspect
A detained suspect must be interrogated within twenty-four hours of the time the detention period begins. The investigator is required to notify the suspect’s relations in conformity with Article 96 (see below) of this Code. Suspects have the right to know of what they are suspected and receive a copy of the ruling on the application to detain them. Suspects also have the right to have a private and confidential meeting with counsel before the first interrogation, as well as offer evidence, receive free interpreters’ services, lodge complaints against actions and decisions of the court, and defend themselves in ways not prohibited by this Code. (Article 46, Items 2-4).
MEASURES OF PROCEDURAL COERCION (Sec. IV), Detention of the Suspect (Ch. 12)
Article 91: Ground for the Detention of the Suspect
A person may be detained if: (1) caught red-handed committing a crime or immediately after committing a crime; (2) a victim or witness identifies the person as the perpetrator of a crime; or (3) undoubted traces of the crime are found on the person’s clothes, near him, or in his dwelling. If there are other grounds for suspicion, a person may be detained if he: (1) has made an attempt to flee; (2) does not have a permanent residence; (3) has not been identified; or (4) if the investigator has petitioned the court for permission to take the person into custody. (Article 91, Items 1-2).
Article 92: Procedure for the Detention of the Suspect
A custody report must be prepared within three hours of taking a suspect into custody. The report must: (1) confirm that the rights stipulated in Article 46 (above) have been explained to the suspect; (2) state the reason for the suspect’s detention; (3) name the date, time, and place of detention; and (4) report the results of a personal search of the suspect. The report must be signed by both the person who compiled it and the suspect. Before an interrogation begins, the suspect must be provided the opportunity to meet with defense counsel for at least two hours. (Article 92, Items 1-4).
Article 94: Grounds for the Release of the Suspect
The suspect must be released if the suspicions have not been confirmed, there are no grounds to keep the suspect in custody, or the detention was made in violation of Article 91 (above) of this Code. The suspect must be released after forty-eight hours unless the court approves an application to take the suspect into custody or extends the length of detention, as established by Article 108 (below). If an application to the court to keep the suspect in custody longer than forty-eight hours is not answered within forty-eight hours of the first moment of the suspect’s detention, then the suspect must be released. (Article 94, Items 1-3).
Article 96: Notification on Detaining the Suspect
According to Russia’s Response to the Report of the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment on its visit to the Russian Federation from 21 May-4 June 2012 (17 Dec. 2013), an investigator is required to notify relatives of a suspect not later than twelve hours from the moment of his detainment, or provide the suspect with the opportunity to notify relatives himself. (The Report to the Russian Government on the visit to the Russian Federation carried out by the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment of Punishment can be found here)
Within twelve hours of the first moment of the suspect’s detainment, the suspect’s relatives or other relations must be notified. Notification may be withheld, with the public prosecutor’s consent, if the investigation would be best served by concealed detainment. (Article 96, Items 1, 4).
Articles 97 and 98: Measures of Restriction and Grounds for Selecting a Measure
The inquirer, the investigator or the court shall have the right to select measures of restriction, including recognizance not to leave, personal guarantee, surveillance by the command of the military unit, keeping an eye on a minor accused, bail, home arrest, or taking into custody, if there are sufficient grounds to believe that the accused or suspected: (1) will flee from the inquiry, from the preliminary investigation or from the court; (2) may continue the criminal activity; (3) may threaten the witness or other participants in the criminal court proceedings, (4) destroy the evidence, or interfere with the proceedings on the criminal case in any other way, or (5) to ensure the execution of the sentence or probable extradition under Article 466 of this Code. (Articles 97 and 98).
Article 100: Selecting a Measure of Restriction Towards the Suspect
A charge must be brought against the suspect no later than ten days from the moment of application for detaining the suspect. If the charge is not brought within this term, the suspect must be immediately released. Certain specified crimes require a charge be brought within thirty days, rather than ten. (Article 100, Items 1-2).
Article 101: Resolution and Ruling on the Selection of a Measure of Restriction
Once a court has ruled on the application to detain a suspect, the ruling must be given to the suspect and the suspect’s counsel or legal representative. The suspect must also be informed of the procedure for filing an appeal of his detention, as established by Articles 123-27 (below) of this Code. (Article 101, Items 1-3).
Article 108: Taking into Custody
Placement in custody may be ordered by a court if the charge carries a sentence of over two years imprisonment, provided that a less restrictive preventive measure cannot be applied. If the charge carries a sentence less than two years, the court may order detention in exceptional circumstances, when (1) the suspect or the accused has no permanent place of residence on the territory of the Russian Federation; (2) his person is not identified; (3) he has violated the earlier selected measure of restriction; or (4) he has fled from the bodies of the preliminary investigation or from the court. (Article 108, Item 1).
Taking into custody as a measure of suppression may not be applied to the person suspected or accused of committing the crimes provided for by Articles 159 (swindling), 160 (misappropriation or embezzlement) and 165 (infliction of property damage through deception or abuse of confidence), if these offences have been made in business activities, as well as by Articles 171-74 (illegal enterprise, illegal banking activity, laundering of funds and other property acquired by other persons illegally), 174.1 ((production, purchase, storage, transportation or sale of unmarked goods and products), 176-78 (illegal receipt of credits; deliberate evasion of the repayment of debts; exclusion, restriction or elimination of competition), 180-83 (illegal use of a trademark; violation of the rules for the manufacture and use of state assay marks; the illegal receipt and disclosure of information classified as a commercial, tax or banking secret), 185-85.4 (securities-related crimes), 190-99.2 (non-return to the territory of the Russian Federation of items of the artistic, historical, and archaeological heritage of the peoples of the Russian Federation or of foreign countries; certain crimes relating to precious metals and stones; non-return of funds in foreign currency from abroad; evasion of customs payments collected from organisations or natural person; crimes relating to bankruptcy proceedings), in the absence of the circumstances cited in Items 1-4 of Article 108 (above). (Article 108, Item 1.1).
If it is necessary to select taking into custody as a measure of restriction, investigator with the consent of the chief of an investigatory agency, as well as the inquirer with the consent of the prosecutor, address the court with the corresponding petition. In the resolution on filing the petition shall be described the motives and the grounds, by force of which the need has arisen for taking the suspect or the accused into custody, while selecting a different measure of restriction is impossible. To the resolution shall be enclosed the materials, confirming the substantiation of the petition. If the petition is filed with respect to the suspect detained in the order established by Articles 91 and 92 of the present Code, the resolution and the said documents shall be submitted to the judge not later than eight hours before an expiry of the term of detention. (Article 108, Item 3).
The resolution on filing a petition for the selection of putting into custody as a measure of restraint shall be considered on his own by the judge of the district court or of the military court of the corresponding level, with the obligatory participation of the suspect or of the accused, of the public prosecutor and of the counsel for the defence, if such is taking part in the criminal case, at the place of conducting the preliminary investigation or at the place of detention of the suspect, in the course of eight hours from the moment of arrival of the materials at the court. The suspect, detained in accordance with the procedure established by Articles 91 and 92 of the present Code, shall be brought to the court session. (Article 108, Item 4). The adoption of the court’s pre-trial restraining order in the form of detention without the accused’s absence is permitted only in case when an international search for the accused is announced. (Article 108, Item 5).
Having considered the petition, the judge shall pass one of the following resolutions: (1) on the selection with respect to the suspect or the accused of a measure of restriction in the form of taking into custody; (2) on the refusal to satisfy the petition; or (3) on extending the term of detention. The extension of the term of detention shall be allowed on condition of recognizing the detention by a court of law as rightful and reasoned for a term of 72 hours at most, as of the time of rendering the court decision on the petition of one of the parties for presenting additional proof of reasonableness or unreasonableness of taking the measure of restraint in the form of placing under detention. In the decision on the extension of the term of detention there shall be indicated the date and time up to which the term of detention is extended. (Article 108, Item 7).
The judge’s resolution on taking into custody as a measure of restriction may be appealed with the higher-placed court by way of cassation within three days from the day of the resolution. The court of the cassation instance shall take the decision on the complaint or on the presentation not later than three days from the day of its receipt. The cassational court award on the reversal of the judge’s ruling on the measure of restraint in the form of detention shall be immediately executed. The cassational court award may be appealed in the exercise of supervisory powers established by Chapter 48 of this Code. (Article 108, Item 11).
The person in charge of proceedings concerning a criminal case shall immediately notify the following persons of the detention facility or of the change of detention facility of a suspect or accused: his/her close relative, or if there are no close relatives, other relatives, and if a military serviceman is detained, shall also notify the commanders of the military unit, and if a person who is a member of a public supervisory committee set up under the legislation of the Russian Federation is detained, shall also notify the secretary of the Public Chamber and the relevant public supervisory commission, and if a worker of a body of internal affairs is confined under guard – also the chief of the body at which such worker is employed. (Article 108, Item 12).
Article 109: Time Terms for Holding in Custody
A suspect may not be held in custody for longer than two months during a preliminary investigation. If a preliminary investigation cannot be completed in two months, and there are no grounds for changing or cancelling the detainment, a district court judge may approve a term of up to six months. The judge may allow persons accused of committing particularly grave crimes to be held for up to twelve months. The judge may extend a term up to a maximum of eighteen months only in exceptional cases. Each time an application for extending the term for holding is heard by the court, the suspect or the suspect’s counsel must be present. A suspect is considered held in custody from the moment the suspect is taken into custody until the public prosecutor directs the criminal case to court. (Article 109, Items 1-14).
Filing Appeals Against the Actions and Decisions of the Court and of the Officials, Conducting the Criminal Court Proceedings (Ch. 16)
Article 123: The Right to Appeal
Actions, decisions, and omissions may be appealed by anyone whose interests were infringed upon by such. In the event of a failure to observe a reasonable timeframe in the course of criminal pretrial proceedings one whose interests were infringed may file a complaint with a public prosecutor or the head of an investigatory agency. (Article 123, Items 1-2).
Article 124: Procedure for the Consideration of a Complaint by the Public Prosecutor, by the Chief of an Investigatory Agency
A public prosecutor must consider an appeal within three days of its receipt. If additional time or materials are necessary to make a decision, the applicant must be notified and the public prosecutor then has a period of ten days to consider the appeal. The applicant must be notified immediately of the prosecutor’s decision.
(Article 124, Items 1, 3).
Article 125: Court Procedure for Considering Complaints
Actions, decisions, and omissions which infringe upon one’s constitutional rights and freedoms or interfere with a citizen’s access to justice may be appealed to the district court with jurisdiction over the preliminary investigation. A court must consider an appeal at a public hearing within five days of receiving the appeal. The applicant has the option to participate in the hearing. Once the judge has made a decision, copies of the judge’s decision must be directed to the applicant. The filing of an appeal does not suspend the performance of the action complained of unless the body of inquiry, the inquirer, the investigator, the head of an investigatory body, the public prosecutor, or the judge finds it necessary. (Article 125, Items 1, 3, 7).
Article 126: Procedure for Lodging a Complaint of the Suspect or the Accused, Held in Custody
The administration of the location holding a suspect must immediately direct to the public prosecutor, or to the court, complaints of the suspect held in custody that are addressed to the prosecutor or the court. (Article 126).  

            Civil Procedural Code of the Russian Federation (Law no. 138-Fz) of Nov. 14, 2002

Chapter 25 of the Civil Procedural Code sets out the procedure for a judicial examination of complaints about decisions, acts, or omissions of the State and municipal authorities and officials. Pursuant to Ruling no. 2 by the Plenary Supreme Court of the Russian Federation, on February 10, 2009, complaints by suspects, defendants, and convicts about inappropriate conditions of detention must be examined in accordance with the provisions of Chapter 25.
Proceedings on the Cases on Disputing Decisions and Actions (Inaction) of the State Power Bodies and Local Self-Government Bodies, of Official Persons and of Government and Municipal Employees (Ch. 25)
Citizens and organizations have a right to appeal a decision, action, or inaction that infringed upon their rights. An appeal must be filed in the appropriate court, established in Articles 24-27 of this Code, at either the appellant’s location of residence or the location of the person or government agency whose conduct is being challenged. The appeal must be filed within three months of the day when the citizen or organization became aware of the violation of its rights, though filing after this three-month period is not reason enough for a court to refuse to consider the appeal. An appeal must be considered by a district court within ten days of receipt, and by the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation within three months of receipt. (Chapter 25, Articles 254-58)           

            Pre-trial Detention Act (Federal Law no. 103-FZ of 15 July 1995)

Detention on remand must be based on the principles of lawfulness, fairness, a presumption of innocence, equality before the law, humanism, and respect for human dignity. Detention on remand must be carried out in accordance with the Russian Constitution, international legal principles and norms and international treaties (to which Russia is a party), and must not involve torture or other actions that purport to cause physical or moral suffering to the suspect or defendant (section 4).
Detainees have, in particular, the right to: (i) send suggestions, applications, and complaints to authorities (including courts), concerning the lawfulness of their detention and violations of their lawful rights and interests (section 17 § 7); (ii) receive free food, daily necessities, and medical assistance, including during the time when they take part in investigative acts or court hearings (section 17 § 9); and (iii) have eight-hours of uninterrupted sleep at night and a one-hour period of daily exercise (section 17 §§ 10 and 11).
Detainees should be kept in conditions which satisfy health and hygiene requirements. They should be provided with an individual sleeping place and given bedding, tableware, and toiletries. Each inmate should receive no less than four square meters of personal space in his or her cell (section 23).

            Ombudsman Act (Federal Law no. 1-FKZ of 26 February 1997)

The Ombudsman may receive complaints concerning actions by federal and municipal State bodies or employees, provided that the complainant has previously lodged a judicial or administrative appeal in this connection (section 16 § 1).
Having examined the complaint, the Ombudsman may apply to a court or prosecutor for the protection of the rights and freedoms which have been breached by an unlawful action or inaction of a State official, or petition the competent authorities for institution of disciplinary, administrative, or criminal proceedings against the State official who has committed such a breach (section 29 § 1).
           Prosecutor’s Act (Federal Law no. 2202-1 of 17 January 1992)
The list of prosecutors’ official powers includes the rights to enter premises, to receive and study materials and documents, to summon officials and private individuals for questioning, to examine and review complaints and petitions containing information on alleged violations of individual rights and freedoms, to explain the avenues of protection for those rights and freedoms, to review compliance with legal norms, to institute administrative proceedings against officials, to issue warnings about unacceptability of violations and to issue reports pertaining to the remedying of the violations uncovered (sections 22 and 27).
A prosecutor’s report pertaining to remedying any violations uncovered is served on an official or a body, which has to examine the report without delay. Within a month, specific measures aimed at the elimination of the violation should be taken. The prosecutor should be informed about the measures taken (section 24).
Chapter 4 governs the prosecutors’ competence to review compliance with legal norms by the prison authorities. They are competent to verify that the prisoners’ placement in custody is lawful and that their rights and obligations are respected, as well as to oversee the conditions of their detention (section 32). To that end, prosecutors may visit the detention facilities at any time in order to talk to detainees and study their personal files, require the prison administration to ensure respect for the rights of detainees, obtain statements from officials, and institute administrative proceedings (section 33). Decisions and requests by the prosecutors must be unconditionally enforced by the prison authorities (section 34).

International or Multilateral Treaties Concerning Arbitrary Detention

UN International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights Ratified October 16, 1973
European Council Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms Ratified May 5, 1998
UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment Ratified March 3, 1987
Convention of the Commonwealth of Independent States on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms Ratified December 21, 1995
European Convention for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment Ratified May 5, 1998
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights Ratified October 16, 1973

Selected ECHR Cases on Pretrial Detention:

            Ananyev and others v. Russia (nos. 42525/07 and 60800/08)

Summary: This was a pilot opinion on the conditions of prisons in Russia. The ECHR Court found in the Russian legal and penal system significant and persistent structural deficiencies that failed to prevent inhuman treatment of pre-trial detainees. The Court required Russia to improve the conditions in the prisons, improve the complaint process, and set up a compensation fund.
Status: final, Russia violated Articles 3 and 13 of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (“Convention”).
Date: 10/04/2012.

Since its first judgment concerning the inhuman and degrading conditions of detention in Russian pre-trial remand centres (see Kalashnikov [v. Russia] . . . ), the Court has found a violation of Article 3 on account of similar conditions of detention in more than eighty cases. . . . According to the Court’s case management database, there are at present approximately two hundred and fifty prima facie meritorious applications against Russia awaiting first examination which feature, as their primary grievance, a complaint about inadequate conditions of detention. Ananyev and others v. Russia, 52–53.

Artemov v. Russia (no. 14945/03)

Summary: Artemov is a Russian national who was arrested for “kidnapping and extortion committed as a member of a group.” The government detained Artemov from 2002–2004, when he was convicted. The Court held this detention to be excessive, specifically noting “the national authorities’ unwillingness to explain and properly substantiate their decisions.” The Court also faulted the Russian government for holding ex parte and in camera proceedings.
Status: final, Russia violated Articles 5 and 6 of the Convention.
Date: 03/04/14.

Grishin v. Russia (no. 14807/08)

Summary: Grishin, a Russian national, was held in pretrial custody for numerous counts of hooliganism, robbery, and other crimes, from 2002 to 2009 intermittently. Due to statutory limitations, the ECHR did not admit Grishin’s detention from 2002-2005. The ECHR Court determined that there was no justification for the admissible detention and that the proceedings against Grishin were excessively long. The Court rejected Grishin’s argument that the detention conditions were inhuman or degrading, finding the center did accommodate Grishin’s disability (amputated leg) and medical concerns. Additionally, the Court concluded that Grishin failed to exhaust domestic remedies.
Status: final, Russia violated Articles 5 and 6 of the Convention.
Date: 24/10/2012.

Nazarov v. Russia (no. 13591/05)

Summary: Nazarov, a Tajikistani national, was held in pretrial custody for drug charges from 2004 to 2006, when he was convicted to three years in prison. The ECHR Court determined that part of Nazarov’s pretrial detention was exceedingly lengthy (except for the period between the 4th and 16th of August, 2004), and the conditions of such detention were inhuman and degrading.
Status: final, Russia violated Article 3, 4, and 5 of the Convention.
Date: 26/02/2010.

Bykov v. Russia (no. 4378/02)

Summary: Bykov, a Russian national, was held in pretrial custody for allegedly ordering the killing of his business associate, from 2000 to 2002, when he was convicted. The ECHR Court determined that Russia held Bykov for an excessively long and unjustified period of time.
Status: final, Russia violated Article 5 and Article 8 of the Convention.
Date: 03/10/2009.

Moskovets v. Russia (no. 14370/03)

Summary: Moskovets, a Russian national, was held in pretrial custody for murder from 1999 to 2004, when he was convicted. The ECHR Court determined that Russia held Moskovets for an extended period of time without justification.
Status: final, Russia violated Articles 3, 5, and 6 of the Convention.
Date: 23/07/2009.

Kuzminskiy v. Russia (no. 40081/03)

Summary: Kuzminskiy, a Russian national, was held in pretrial custody for alleged bribery from 2002 to 2003, when he was acquitted. The ECHR Court found that there was “an unreasonably long delay in the enforcement of the binding judgment” against Russia. However, the ECHR Court determined that Kuzminskiy’s pretrial detention was not unlawful according to Articles 3 and 5 of the Convention.
Status: final, Russia violated Article 6 of the Convention.
Date: 14/02/2009.

Ismoilov and Others v. Russia (no. 2947/06)

Summary: Twelve Uzbek nationals and one Kyrgyz national were detained unlawfully from 2004 to 2005 while awaiting extradition to Uzbekistan.
Status: final, Russia violated Article 3, 5, and 6 of the Convention.
Date: 01/12/2008.

Melnikova v. Russia (no. 24552/02)

Summary: Melnikova, a Russian national, was held in pretrial custody for fraud intermittently between 2002 and 2003, when she was convicted and sentenced to five years’ conditional imprisonment. The ECHR Court determined that Melnikova was held for unlawful periods of time during her pretrial detention.
Status: final, Russia violated Article 5 of the Convention.
Date: 30/01/2008.

Smirnova v. Russia (no. 46133/99)

Summary: Two twin sisters, both Russian nationals, were held in pretrial custody for fraud from 1995 to 1997, and then on remand custody twice from 1999 to 2000, and from 2001 to 2002. The ECHR Court determined that the length of their detention was excessive and the retention of their identity papers during this period was unlawful.
Status: final, Russia violated Articles 5, 6, and 8 of the Convention.
Date: 24/10/2003.

Mamedova v. Russia (no. 7064/05)

Summary: Mamedova, a Russian national, was held in pretrial custody for fraud from 2004 to 2005. The ECHR Court determined that the detention was not made for relevant and sufficient reasons and was therefore a violation of Mamedova’s rights.
Status: final, Russia violated Articles 3 and 5 of the Convention.
Date: 23/10/2006.

Korchuganova v. Russia (no. 75039/01)

Summary: Korchuganova, a Russian national, was held in pretrial custody intermittently from 1998 to 2003, for allegedly ordering another’s murder. The ECHR Court determined that Korchuganova’s pretrial detentions exceeded a “reasonable time” period.
Status: final, Russia violated Article 5 of the Convention.
Date: 08/09/2006.

Bednov v. Russia (no. 21153/02)

Summary: Bednov, a Russian national, was held in pretrial custody for robbery, in 2001. The ECHR Court determined that Bednov was denied “the right to a judicial decision concerning the lawfulness of his pretrial detention,” effectively failing to review the procedural and substantive conditions essential for “lawfulness” of a detention.
Status: final, Russia violated Article 5 of the Convention.
Date: 01/09/2006.

Nakhmanovich v. Russia (no. 55669/00)

Summary: Nakhmanovich, a Kazakhstan national, was held in pretrial custody for theft from 1997 to 2000, when he was released. The ECHR Court determined that Russia held Nakhmanovich for an unreasonable period of time.
Status: final, Russia violated Article 5 and 6 of the Convention.
Date: 02/06/2006.

Khudoyorov v. Russia (no. 6847/02)

Summary: Khudoyorov, a Tajikistan national, was held in pretrial custody intermittently from 1999 to 2004 for drug charges. The ECHR Court determined that Khodoyorov’s detention was excessive, and the conditions of his detention were incompatible with Article 3 requirements regarding pretrial detention.
Status: final, Russia violated Articles 3, 5, and 6 of the Convention.
Date: 12/04/2006.

Rokhlina v. Russia (no. 54071/00)

Summary: Rokhlina, a Russian national, was held in pretrial custody for murder charges, from 1998 to 1999. The ECHR Court determined that Rokhlina’s detention was excessive and “did not justify the deprivation of liberty.”
Status: final, Russia violated Articles 5 and 6 of the Convention.
Date: 12/10/2005.

Klyakhin v. Russia (no. 46082/99)

Summary: Klyakhin, a Russian national, was held in pretrial custody for robbery charges, from 1997 to 1999, when he was convicted. The ECHR Court determined that Klyakhin was held for an unreasonably long time and was unable to obtain a judicial review of his detention pending trial.
Status: final, Russia violated Articles 5, 6, 8, and 13 of the Convention.
Date: 06/06/2005.

Panchenko v. Russia (no. 45100/98)

Summary: Panchenko, a Russian national, was held on detention during remand of his case, from 1998 to 1999. The ECHR Court determined that the length of his detention was excessive.
Status: Final, Russia violated Article 5 of the Convention.
Date: 08/05/2005.

Kalashnikov v. Russia (no. 47095/99)

Summary: Kalashnikov, a Russian national, was held in pretrial custody for embezzlement, from 1995 to 2000 intermittently. The ECHR Court determined that the length of pretrial detention and the trial were excessive, and the conditions of the detention were inhuman and degrading.
Status: final, Russia violated Articles 3, 5, and 6 of the Convention.
Date: 15/10/2002.

Local Organizations

Russia, Ukraine and Belarus
Uglovi Pereulok Dom 2, PO Box 62
Moscow 125047
Russian Federation
Phone: +7 495 250 6464
Fax: +7 495 250 6464
Email: /
Penal Reform International has been working in the region since 1998, with an office in Moscow. Current work focuses on torture prevention, improving independent public oversight of places of detention, protecting the rights of vulnerable groups in prisons (particularly women and children), and promoting alternatives to imprisonment.

Address: C/o. RUSSIA RESOURCE CENTRE P.O. Box 212 Moscow 119019 RU
Phone: +7 (495) 690 1852
Fax: +7 (495) 691 2904

Amnesty International is a global movement of more than three million supporters, members, and activists in over 150 countries and territories who campaign to end abuses of human rights.

Zona Prava provides legal and informational support to prisoners and criminal defendants. They are also drafting amendments to laws governing jails and prison work colonies. Zona Prava was founded by Masha Alyokhina and Nadya Tolokonnikova, the two Pussy Riot members who served almost two years in Russian prison work colonies.
Address: 4th Syromyatnichesky Lane, 1/8, bld. 8, Moscow 105120 RU
Phone: 8 800 333 15 40

25 Bedford Row – London WC1R 4HD – United Kingdom
tel. ++44 20 70 67 15 36
ECBA was formed in 1997 and currently has one member attorney listed in the Russian Federation, Sergei Golubok of Semenyako Golubok & Partners, in Saint Petersburg. ECBA is an association of independent specialist defense attorneys. Due to the European Court of Human Right’s (ECHR) impact on member states, an organization of such specialized defense attorneys is necessary to advocate for the rights and minimum standards for all persons suspected, accused, or convicted.

House 42, Suite 22-13
Leninsky Prospect
Labor Palace Building 119119
Tel: +7 (495) 938 75 34
The International Protection Center is an organization of defense attorneys and legal experts who specialize in the submission of complaints by Russian citizens to the European Court of Human Rights (“Court”). The organization also studies how the Court’s decisions are affecting application of law and drafting of national legislation in Russia.

Russia, Moscow, 109147, Marxistsky p., 1/32
tel. /fax 7(095) 912-54-41, 912-36-66
The Center of Assistance to International Protection is an independent non-governmental organization of lawyers and volunteers working to defend human rights. The organization provides full preparation of documents for submission to Strasbourg and other international courts, as well as participates in trying these cases.

Moscow Center for Prison Reform (MCPR)
Luchnikov Lane, 4, Entr. 3, Room 7
Moscow 101000
Phone: +7(495)621-0915
Fax: +7(495)621-1024
Moscow Center for Prison Reform (MCPR) is a non-governmental organization that promotes a fair and humane system of criminal justice. The organization was founded by former political prisoners, including Andrei Sakharov. The MCPR develops bills and recommendations regarding prison and judicial system reform, publishes books and brochures, and prepares publications and audio and video reports for mass media consumption. The organization works to educate the general public about legal rights, monitors human rights and current legislation, and conducts sociological surveys. The current website appears to only be available in Russian.


  • Russia’s Federal Penitentiary System reports that as of December 1, 2012, approximately 114,500 detainees were held in 230 pretrial detention centers, according to the S. State Department, Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2013. (pg. 7).
  • International Centre for Prison Studies, reports that on January 1, 2015, 117,400 pre-trial detainees were held in Russian pretrial detention centers.
  • Harvard Kennedy School Program in Criminal Justice Policy and Management, Encouraging Trends in Pretrial Detention in Russia, examines pre-trial detention trends in Russia from 2000 to 2010.

Other Sources


Pretrial Rights International has soft launched to begin helping pretrial detainees around the world. DISCLAIMER: We are constantly working to improve the content on this site. The material contained on this site is in beta form. It does not provide legal advice. If you need legal assistance, contact a lawyer.

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