The ECHR awards compensation for inhumane conditions in Russian prisons

Prisoners are unable to have their basic needs met – from access to fresh air to privacy in the toilet.
December 01, 2023


The European Court of Human Rights has communicated dozens of complaints from Russian prisoners. Some of these complaints are from penal colonies in the northern regions of Komi, Murmansk and Arkhangelsk.

The judgment, published on the ECHR website, identifies specific examples of violations of inmates’ rights. These are, first and foremost, unacceptable detention conditions: overcrowding of cells; lack of, insufficient or poor quality of water and food; lack of fresh air and lighting; lack of or insufficient physical exercise in fresh air; restricted access to leisure or educational activities.

Many complaints concern the inability to have privacy when performing bodily functions. Additionally, access to the toilet or shower may be limited. Inmates are periodically kept in the same room with people infected with contagious disease. The cells are dirty and may be infested with insects or rodents.

The ECHR awarded compensation ranging from 5,000 to 12,500 euros to inmates whose complaints had been communicated.

This is not the first time the ECHR finds conditions in Russian prisons unacceptable and inhumane. Moreover, the Russian state has previously paid compensation awarded by the ECHR.

Politician Alexei Navalny has repeatedly spoken about the torture-like detention conditions. He was regularly put in a punishment cell, where he faced cold, hunger, the inability to turn off the lights at night and other human rights violations. In addition, Navalny shared the cell with the same prisoner who did not observe hygiene standards.



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