Body search relaxation urged for Russian inmates

Moscow, April 19 (IANS/RIA Novosti) The Russian Justice Ministry has been urged to amend its regulations allowing manual body cavity searches of inmates, a lawmaker said Thursday.

The request has been made by A Just Russia party faction in the State Duma.

Valery Gartung, who is among some 40 lawmakers behind the initiative, told the Gazeta.Ru portal that he prepared the request while visiting a penal colony in the Urals city of Kopeisk, the site of a violent prison riot in November 2012.

Over 200 convicts participated in a protest demanding a milder regime and the release of several inmates from punitive confinement.

Gartung said the inmates were protesting against being systematically abused by prison workers, who also extorted money from their relatives.

“When people refused to make a phone call and ask for money from their relatives, they were, in fact, sexually assaulted under the guise of a manual rectal exam,” the lawmaker said.

Some of the inmates were psychologically traumatised and even attempted to commit suicide.

The letter, addressed to Russian Justice Minister Alexander Konovalov, asks him to consider introducing less invasive methods, such as x-rays.

The Federal Penitentiary Service said in certain cases prison workers “have to examine natural body orifices” and that such searches often reveal prohibited objects, such as drugs or cell phones.

The Russian Justice ministry, however, declined to comment on the party’s request.

–IANS/RIA Novosti

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