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Russia police torturing suspects for confessions: Amnesty

[JURIST] Torture and ill-treatment in Russia is regularly used to extract confessions from suspects [AI press release], according to a report [text] released Wednesday by Amnesty International [advocacy website]. Noting that Russia was in violation of its national and international obligations, the human rights group found that Russian police regularly engage in the mistreatment of suspects and that "lawyers are not present during questioning of suspects in detention; relatives are not informed of their detention; suspects are tortured by police officers or left at the mercy of convicts who do the torturing for the police; [and] the victims are denied a medical examination by a doctor of their choice." Allegations into torture and ill-treatment are rarely investigated and those held to be responsible are rarely prosecuted. In 2005, official investigations found evidence of torture in only 33 out of 114 arguable cases of torture. Amnesty also expressed concern over Russia's reliance on torture to extract confessions by police officers who are anxious to solve a certain number of crimes. Russian NGOs in 2005 found medical evidence of 100 cases of torture in 11 of Russia's 89 regions.

Amnesty recommended that Russia establish a system for unannounced inspections of detention centers by credible impartial investigators, that Russia sign and ratify the Optional Protocol to the UN Convention against Torture [text], and that the government improve police officer training, including in human rights protection. The New York Times has more. BBC News has additional coverage.

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