Representatives of noncommercial organizations of the Russian Federation de jure have a right to meet with convicts in correctional facilities in order to provide them with legal support.
Russian legal system doesn’t have any restrictions in this field. Penal Code of the Russian Federation and Rules of Internal Conduct for penitentiary facilities keep a right for inmates to getting legal help and meetings with defenders and other people who have a right to provide people with legal help.
Attorney shows his attorney ID, warrant of attorney and writes a request on meeting in order to see a convict. As for all the rest, Russian legal system doesn’t make it specific: what kind of papers do defenders need but having studied legislative regulations of different fields, it’s easy to guess that relating to noncommercial organizations necessary documents are Charter of organization which states its purposes, objectives and type of activities and document which proves that a person is a part of this organization (member, worker, partner).
De-facto defenders cannot use this right on full scale to meet with inmates because administration of correctional facilities often doesn’t permit to have a meeting or obstructs representatives of NGO organizations.
Administration of correctional facilities demands to bring various papers not required by legal system: license for legal practice, diplomas in law etc.
Due to these denials of access there are human rights violations of people serving their sentences to legal help guaranteed by Constitution of the Russian Federation, rules of Penal Code and Convention of Human Rights.
In the Sverdlovsk region representatives of noncommercial organizations have dozens of court victories against administration of correctional facilities, in two trials the Federal Service for Execution of punishment has been declared to be unlawfully inactive body.
In Russia court practice in this field is not equal everywhere. In different regions there are completely different court decisions in the same cases.
Noncommercial partnership «LEGAL BASIS» and «Transregional center for human rights» have addressed to independent expert, accredited by Ministry of Justice of the Russian Federation to conduct anticorruptive examinations of legislative rules and projects of laws and regulations — Irina Biryukova with request to carry out anticorruptive examination of several provisions of Penal Code in particular p.4, art.89 regulating meetings with inmates.
Irina Biryukova after studying problem, have made expert opinion which was sent to the State Duma, the Federation Council, the Public Chamber, Ombudsman, Council under the President and human rights organizations of Russia with request to examine and bring up for discussion in order to change this point in Penal Code.
Director of NGO «LEGAL BASIS» Aleksey Sokolov in March of 2015 made a trip to Moscow where he held discussions with representatives of Ombudsman’s office, representatives of human rights organizations of Moscow who agreed that problem with denial of access is very important and there is necessity to bring up this issue for authorities.
Representatives of noncommercial organizations hope that their idea will be heard and law makers put changes in existing ruling in order to correct it.
Human rights defenders of the Urals