The draft was prepared “in three weeks in the quiet of the offices”
Senator Lyudmila Narusova believes that the bill on combating torture introduced to the State Duma will not help to seriously combat this phenomenon. She said this at a briefing held on December 29.
Photo: Lilia Sharlovskaya
According to the senator, the law, signed by Senator Andrei Klishast and Duma member Pavel Krasheninnikov, was prepared in three weeks in the quiet of offices without interaction with the HRC and human rights activists who have been seriously dealing with this topic “on the ground” for a long time. At the same time, as Lyudmila Narusova said, three years ago in the Federation Council, in a working group with her participation, work began on a law that could change criminal practices. The Federation Council's proposals, supported not only by the HRC, but also by the Presidential Commissioner for Human Rights Tatyana Moskalkova, however, previously received a negative response from the security officials, who called the proposed norms excessive. But after the recent publication of materials on torture, a working group of the Federation Council decided to reintroduce the previously rejected bill, first discussing it on December 20 with Klishas and Krasheninnikov. But the discussion did not take place, because by this time the Duma version of the law had managed not only to receive the necessary approvals from the departments, but also to receive the status of officially submitted for consideration. On proposals to introduce amendments to the Duma draft from the working group of the Federation Council, as it was said, a refusal was received. At the same time, as Lyudmila Narusova says, no conclusions have yet been received for the project on which her group worked, and if they are not agreed upon, it will be a “litmus test” showing that “there is no desire to eradicate torture.”
During the briefing, Senator Narusova also spoke about the most fundamental differences between the version of the law prepared by her and her colleagues from the one introduced by Klishas and Krasheninnikov. First of all, it concerns the definition of torture. As mentioned above, the Duma version of the law proposes not to include suffering caused in the course of the application of legal sanctions or pressure, as well as unintentionally delivered to them. This, said at the briefing, “leaves a loophole for arbitrariness.” In addition, the introduced version of the law does not include torture inflicted without the use of physical force – sleep deprivation, inability to take the necessary medications, etc.
In general, Lyudmila Narusova and her colleagues propose to make a number of amendments to the legislation ( criminal procedure, regulating the work of places of deprivation of liberty, etc.) in order, among other things, to make the torture itself meaningless: so that the evidence obtained with its help is not accepted by the courts, and the people who took part in their application cannot hide from responsibility. To do this, it is proposed to single out torture as a separate corpus delicti, especially grave, since in this case we are talking about an attempt on the rights enshrined in the Constitution, to introduce a three-day period for providing a medical report on the condition of the allegedly tortured person, to document in detail the time and reasons for the displacement of persons deprived of their liberty from cells to cells, to strengthen the responsibility of the heads of the relevant institutions for creating conditions for torture.