Coronavirus attacked Novosibirsk prisons


In the Novosibirsk region, COVID-19 made it to places of detention – the first prisoner fell ill. A special order of the department in prisons forbids visits from relatives and confidential meetings with lawyers.

The first prisoner with coronavirus was recorded in the Novosibirsk region. This happened in pre-trial detention center No. 2 of the city of Kuibyshev. Prior to this, the GUFSIN confirmed that five employees were hospitalized with suspected coronavirus infection. All five employees of the head office have signs of a respiratory disease, the state of health is assessed as satisfactory. Sanitary and anti-epidemic measures, disinfection, quartzing and ventilation are carried out in correctional colonies of the region. Since mid-March, meetings with relatives have been suspended at all institutions of the GUFSIN in Russia.

At the disposal of the editorial board of there was a document signed by the head of the regional GUFSIN, Alexander Popeto. The document is addressed to the acting head of the Main Directorate of the Ministry of Internal Affairs in the region, Kirill Travin. It reports that a prisoner with a positive result on COVID-19 was found in pre-trial detention center No. 2. Therefore, in Novosibirsk prisons, the reception of persons from temporary detention facilities who did not pass the coronavirus test was stopped.

There is information that some courts stopped working for two weeks, and GUFSIN employees are moving to the barracks position. Meetings with relatives of prisoners are strictly prohibited, prisoners are allowed to communicate with lawyers only through the glass and in the presence of the investigator.

This information excited the lawyers, they claimed a direct violation of human rights. Say, interrogations are now being held in rooms for short visits with relatives – niches one and a half meters in size, divided in half by thick glass. All conversations go through the intercom phone. After drawing up the protocol, it is transferred to the escort, and the escort already refers the documents to the person under investigation for review and signature.

“Each accused has a set of rights, and it cannot be restricted even in difficult circumstances such as a coronavirus pandemic,” says one of the Novosibirsk lawyers who wished not to give his name. – Well, it would be nice if the pre-trial detention center was closed to everyone, otherwise you can see an attempt to please the investigating authorities, which are continuing their work, but they are actually considering lawyers as some kind of particularly malicious carriers of infection. Why is the meeting of the defense counsel with the principal permitted only in the presence of the investigator? I do not think that the investigator will replace the quartzizer and protect others. The right to confidential meetings is simply trampled. But there is a solution – adequate for investigators, interrogators and the FSIN system. The preliminary investigation can be suspended if the location of the accused is known, but there is no real possibility of his participation in the criminal case. Now this is exactly the situation. Do you want to solve the question of the measure of restraint for the inhabitant of the pre-trial detention center? Video conferencing systems to help you. Depriving a lawyer and his client of live communication is in no way possible. I believe that this still comes back to investigative authorities. The courts will begin to return criminal cases to prosecutors on grounds of violation of the right to defense. ”


Since April 20, the lawyers’ chamber of the Novosibirsk region began to receive messages from lawyers about the termination of their admission to remand prison No. 1. Some reports indicated that the administration of the pre-trial detention center had permission to talk to lawyers with their clients only in the presence of the investigator. At the same time, there were no clear explanations of where the investigator could come from, for example, a convict who was transferred to Novosibirsk from a correctional colony at a meeting on his appeal. And there are many such cases. In addition, improper conditions for conducting investigative actions were reported: the lawyer was located in close proximity to the investigator in a tight glass box, and his client was located in another glass box located through the corridor. At the same time, the audibility of telephone communication left much to be desired; through the glass, the non-verbal reaction of the accused to the questions of the investigator is not visible. In a stuffy room at the same time are 15 lawyers and investigators. At the same time, a strange situation has developed with the transfer of documents to clients. In order for him to get them in their hands, they must first be in the hands of the overseer, who had the opportunity to get acquainted with them – the fact remains.

It is clear that such additional measures have been taken by the regional GUFSIN to prevent the spread of coronavirus. However, a careful study of the situation gives reason to doubt the legality of depriving citizens of their constitutional right to receive qualified legal assistance, as well as respect for the professional rights of lawyers. According to the Bar Association of the region, the restrictive measures adopted are disproportionate to the goals and objectives contained in Article 56 of the Constitution of the Russian Federation and federal laws guaranteeing the right to receive qualified legal assistance and protection from prosecution, including in conditions of detention.

As the lawyers chamber reasonably noted, such a measure of preventing the spread of infection as the presence of an investigator during a conversation between a lawyer and a client seems unconvincing.


“The situation with lawyers being barred from accessing their principals in pre-trial detention center No. 1 of Novosibirsk restricts the constitutional right of access to justice, worsens the situation of detainees and makes it difficult for lawyers to carry out professional activities,” said Vyacheslav Denisov, head of the press service of the regional bar association.

The Lawyer Chamber of the Novosibirsk Region believes that preventive measures introduced in remand prison No. 1 should not violate the fundamental constitutional rights of citizens, and appealed to the leadership of the regional GUFSIN with a request to eliminate violations of the law.

Ilya Inzov

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