On 9 April, 2020, the official website of the Head of the Republic of Mari El
"Today it became known about the first case of death of a patient in the Republic with a confirmed
diagnosis of Coronavirus. The patient was 37 years old and died in Yoshkar-Ola city hospital. As told by
doctors, the patient had many chronic diseases. The doctors did everything they could, but
unfortunately, they couldn't save her.”
According to information posted in the online media
, the deceased woman was an employee of the
UFSIN of Russia for the Republic of Mari El and worked in FKU SIZO-1 UFSIN RF for the Republic of Mari
El. The officer had direct contact with both prison staff and prisoners.
On 6 April, 2020, in the media and on the official website of the UFSIN of Russia for the Ryazan region
there was information on the detection of Coronavirus disease of the staff of FKU IK-5 UFSIN of Russia
for the Ryazan region.
On 18 March, 2020, 50 non-governmental organizations asked international organizations
such as WHO,
the Council of Europe, and the United Nations to take immediate measures to protect prisoners as one
of the most vulnerable groups during the pandemic, especially those suffering from chronic diseases,
tuberculosis, and HIV. The set of principles developed by the European Committee for the prevention of
torture states that any restrictive measures to prevent the dissemination of COVID-19 to prisoners must
be based on the law and respect for human dignity.
Official information from the health services about the methods and speed of spread of Coronavirus
infection suggests that tragic situations similar to those that occurred in the Republic of Mari El and the
Ryazan region may be repeated. People in detention in Russia, who are already in the most vulnerable
situation, are now at maximum risk in the context of rapid spread of infection.
Detention conditions and organization of activities of the penitentiary institutions in the Russian
Federation do not allow fulfilling the requirements of self-isolation, which a significant part of the
population of the Russian Federation perform.
Prisoners are constantly in a state of crowding: in cells, detachments, sanitary facilities, workshops,
canteens, waiting rooms, medical units, etc. Prisoners are never completely isolated from each other or
from employees of institutions. All aspects of prison life involve moving prisoners in groups of several
people. Currently, prisoners usually continue to perform multiple mandatory daily procedures related to
roll call, work, washing, eating, etc. The FSIN staff contacts a large number of prisoners on a daily basis,
conducting searches. Prisoners are often unable to follow instructions on hand, face, and household
hygiene. Masks for prisoners and staff with symptoms are not available in sufficient quantities.
Under the above conditions, employees of the Federal penitentiary service of the Russian Federation, as
well as prisoners continue to be exposed to the risk of Coronavirus infection and its further spread to
their colleagues, relatives or other prisoners.
In the situation with the spread of Coronavirus infection in the world, many international organizations,
WHO, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, UN Treaty bodies, the Commissioner for Human
Rights of the Council of Europe, the European Committee for the prevention of torture have expressed a
clear position that the measures taken by States to combat Coronavirus infection should use a value-
based approach based on respect for human dignity and human rights.