According to Georgy Volkov, head of the Moscow Public Monitoring Commission (PMC), an attendance of places of detention by human rights defenders has increased by 20%, despite the imposed regime of restrictions in several institutions.
Members of the Moscow PMC are still deprived of the opportunity to inspect each cell in the pre-trial detention centers, but even during the pandemic, public control in the capital region has strengthened its position. The number of visits has increased by 20% compared to last year.
– The Commission monitors the observance of the rights of citizens in places of detention not only in pre-trial detention centers. We visit police departments, special detention centers, temporary detention centers for foreign citizens, psychiatric hospitals. There are a colony-settlement and a correctional center on the territory of Moscow, – Georgy Volkov said.
An urgent problem for public observers is the lack of inspection of each cell in pre-trial detention centers under the current regime of special conditions. They can only meet with people, who are in penitentiary institutions, in short-term meeting rooms and communicate through glass.
Volkov also focused on the entry into force of the new Federal Law N 96-FZ of April 1, 2020 «On Introducing Amendments to the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation», according to which a convicted person has the right to serve his sentence at the place of residence of his relatives.
– We sent several requests to a leadership of the Federal Penitentiary Service of Russia to transfer convicts to the regions of residence of their relatives. All requests are stories of a difficult fate: some have a child without a mother, some have sick parents. In the near future we are waiting for a response to our requests, and soon we will be able to comment on how the practice of applying the new law is developing, – Volkov explained.
Separately, Georgy Volkov commented on the issue of statements by human rights defenders about the lack of public control in Russia:
– I would not call Russian human rights defenders those who live outside the territory of the Russian Federation, – says the chairman of the Moscow PMC. – There have always been and will be people who are not satisfied with positive undertakings, since they get their benefit in the form of money or PR precisely due to negative results. It is not economically beneficial for them to show the work of civil society in our country. We are used to this and do not pay attention to it. Our goal is not to show, but to help people.
Volkov noted that in the context of the pandemic, a number of vital operations were carried out to people held in Moscow pre-trial detention centers. He stressed that a provision of medical care is still one of the most acute problems, but positive dynamics is observed in this issue.