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Report – Enforced disappearance in Russia’s prisoner transfer system

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Research into enforced disappearances in Russia has often overlooked the role played by prisoner transfers in this phenomenon. Deficiencies in the Russian legal framework allow the authorities to keep convicts incommunicado during prison transfers, which can last weeks or even months, effectively placing prisoners outside the protection of the law.

  • Russia has not criminalised enforced disappearance, leaving prisoners unprotected against it during transfers.
  • The duration of prison transfers is not limited by law.
  • Prisoners do not have the right to contact their lawyer or family during transfers and the authorities are not obliged to inform them of the whereabouts of the transferred persons.

As a result, the Russian prisoner transfer system violates human rights, such as the right to personal security, the right to due process, the right not to be subjected to torture and inhuman treatment and the right to life – all of which are enshrined in binding international legal instruments, customary international law and the Russian Constitution.

This report is intended to serve as evidence for future human rights cases and research, and calls for the substantive reform of the Russian prison system.


Enforced disappearances in Russia's prisoner transfer system - IPHR/SC/EPLN (April 2024)
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