5 April 2023
NGO “Man and Law” presents the report “Observance of the right to access to court in places of detention of the Federal Penitentiary Service of Russia”. The report was prepared on the basis of a large-scale study and data obtained from 77 places of forced detention in 13 regions of the Russian Federation.
Access to a court is an important component of the human right to a fair trial. The study of this right is the more significant the more closed the institution within which it should be secured. In this regard, prisoners are the most vulnerable category. How do convicts participate in the court session? How can they defend themselves in court from the colony? How can they submit documents to the court, ask questions to the participants in the process? How is legal aid provided in closed institutions? Do prisoners trust advocates by appointment? In what conditions do meetings with the defender/advocate take place? Do prisoners have access to legal literature, samples of complaints and statements? These and other issues were raised in the surveys, which were answered by about 600 prisoners, more than 150 employees of the Federal Penitentiary Service, 65 advocates and lawyers.
The report summarizes the problems faced by prisoners in the process of legal information and protection, and also presents positive practices of individual regions.
At the conclusion of the Report, we offer recommendations that, in our opinion, will be useful in discussing, developing and implementing effective mechanisms that allow all categories of prisoners, regardless of the crime committed or existing restrictions (physical, cultural, linguistic, etc.), to participate fully in the judicial protection of their rights.