Parallel follow-up information by ADC Memorial and former members of Public Oversight Commissions to UN Committee against Torture

In August 2018 UN Committee against Torture adopted Concluding observations after considering the periodic report of the Russian Federation on observation of Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. In the observations, the Committee requested the government of Russian Federation to provide information on follow-up to the Committee’s recommendations on investigations of acts of torture and ill-treatment, the case of Yevgeny Makarov, and human rights defenders and journalists (see paras. 15, 17 and 29 above) by 10 August 2019. On August 13, 2019 the government of Russia provided the follow-up report.

Following that, the human rights organizations provided parallel follow-up information. Anti-Discrimination Center Memorial jointly with members of previous Saint-Petersburg Public Oversight Commissions Yana Tseplitskaya and Ekaterina Kosarevskaya submitted a report regarding lack of investigation of torture for the period from June 2018 to October 2019 and regarding the public control over the detention institutions. The report describes lack of inspections regarding torture of the accused within so-called ‘Network’ case, accused in the terrorist act in Saint-Peterburg metro and other cases. The authors of the report also draw the attention of the Committee against torture to the tendency of excluding the most active and independent members of Public Oversight Commissions (POC) during the last elections to POC that took place in autumn 2019. The representatives of human rights organizations were also excluded from POC. The new amendments to Federal Law No 76-FZ to which the government refers in its follow-up information, narrow down the mandate of the members of POC. For example, it is now prohibited to discuss with prisoners torture that did not take place in the institution they kept at the moment of the interview. However, the majority of torture cases (almost 80% according to the Committee against Torture (INGO-CAT) ) take place outside the penal institutions: in the offices of investigators, in the police vehicles, in forests, in places known as ‘secret prisons’ and others.